How to Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training Course near Buena Park CA
Selecting the right phlebotomist school near Buena Park CA is an important initial step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging task to evaluate and compare all of the training options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's important that you do your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a quality education. In fact, a large number of students start the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional factor you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll review more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your selection process as well. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you choose the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomist Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their main duty, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the tools being employed are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork has to be properly completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Buena Park CA labs and are accountable for ensuring that samples are analyzed correctly under the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they may be required to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The most basic answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are numerous and diverse, such as Buena Park CA hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a certain kind of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients every day.
Phlebotomist Education, Licensing and Certification
There are basically two types of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to complete and provides a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they usually require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program provide a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. While not mandated in most states, a number of Buena Park CA employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. Some of the primary certifying organizations include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are some states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, including Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a premium education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Colleges
To start with, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A good part of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical component of the training can be accessed online, it may be a more practical alternative for some Buena Park CA students. As an additional benefit, some online classes are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy program you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a quality education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the ideal choice for you.
Should You Choose a Career as a Phlebotomy Tech?First of all, few people are likely to know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have previously discussed, the short answer is a medical professional who draws blood from patients. So of course anyone who chooses this profession must be OK around blood and needles. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Buena Park CA medical environments, well this profession may not be right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomists routinely work with anxious people who don’t like needles or having a blood sample taken. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you may be required to work weekends, nights and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the blood and needles, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are patient and compassionate, this may be the right job for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Now that you have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is relevant if you will be commuting from Buena Park CA in addition to the tuition expense. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online program. All of these decisions are an important part of the process for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you need to ask about all of the colleges you are reviewing prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed before working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and readies you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you select should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a quality education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Buena Park CA job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of any schools you are looking at. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even talk to a few Buena Park CA clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and find out if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the California school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Provided? First, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Ask the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with local health care facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on practical training typically not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Buena Park CA medical community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Available? Finding your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Buena Park CA medical community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to make sure that the final school you choose offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Buena Park CA, make sure they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option also. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is should you have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Pick the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Buena Park California
Making sure that you enroll in the most suitable phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are offered in a variety of educational institutions, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive assortment of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program options may differ a bit from state to state as every state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to diligently evaluate and compare each school before making your final selection. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the best phlebotomist school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Buena Park CA.