How to Select the Best Phlebotomy Technician School near Burbank CA
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomy technician school near Burbank CA is an essential first step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging undertaking to evaluate and compare each of the school options that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a quality education. In reality, many students start their search by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional factor you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online schools later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and must be part of your selection process too. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you pick the best one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online schools.
Request Free information on Phlebotomy Training in Your Area
Phlebotomy Technician Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their primary task, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the tools being utilized are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample needs to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork needs to be accurately completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Burbank CA laboratories and are accountable for ensuring that samples are tested properly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they may be required to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The quickest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are numerous and varied, including Burbank CA hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a particular kind of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily two types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to finish and offers a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they typically take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more extensive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not required in most states, most Burbank CA employers require certification before hiring technicians. Some of the key certifying organizations include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are several states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, such as Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a superior education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Training
To start with, let's resolve one possible mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant part of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical component of the training can be attended online, it might be a more convenient alternative for many Burbank CA students. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist program you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online might be the right option for you.
Should You Train to Be a Phlebotomy Technician?Right out of the gate, few people probably know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have previously discussed, the basic definition is a health care professional whose job is to draw blood. So naturally anyone who decides to enter this profession must be able to handle blood and needles. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Burbank CA medical facilities, well this job probably is not right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Techs routinely work around anxious people who don’t like needles or having a blood sample taken. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you will probably be expected to work weekends, evenings and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the needles and blood, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are patient and compassionate, this may be the perfect profession for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Now that you have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is important if you will be commuting from Burbank CA in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist program. All of these decisions are an important component of the process for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you should ask about each of the colleges you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. 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 preps you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you select should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in securing 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 attractive to potential employers in the Burbank CA job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of any colleges you are considering. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even check with some Burbank CA clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and find out if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the California school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Adequate Training Provided? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing 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 looking at should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with local medical facilities. They are the ideal means to get hands-on clinical training often not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Burbank CA health care community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Landing your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Burbank CA health care community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's crucial to make sure that the ultimate college you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you opt to still work while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Burbank CA, check that they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option also. Even if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is should you need to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Training near Burbank California
Making certain that you select the most suitable phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are available in a variety of academic institutions, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program offerings may differ a bit across the country as every state has its own criteria when it concerns phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to thoroughly screen and compare each program prior to making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the best phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Burbank CA.