How to Choose the Best Phlebotomy Tech Training Classes near Burbank CA
Choosing the ideal phlebotomist school near Burbank CA is an important first step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting undertaking to assess and compare all of the training alternatives that are available to you. However it's necessary that you do your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a quality education. In fact, a large number of potential students begin their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional option you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll review more about online schools later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and must be part of your selection process as well. 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 choose the right one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Technician Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their principal function, there is actually much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the tools being used are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork has to be properly completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Burbank CA labs and are responsible for making certain that samples are tested correctly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they may be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The easiest response is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, including Burbank CA hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a specific kind of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily two types of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to complete and offers a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program offer a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will probably want to be certified. While not required in most states, a number of Burbank CA employers require certification before employing technicians. A few of the main certifying agencies include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are several states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, such as Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a quality education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Colleges
First, let's dispel one likely mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant part of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical part of the training may be accessed online, it might be a more practical alternative for many Burbank CA students. As an added benefit, many online schools are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenditures, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy school you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Since you now have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is relevant if you will be commuting from Burbank CA in addition to the tuition expense. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy school. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are looking at prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to choose 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 College Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you pick should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited colleges. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Burbank CA job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of any schools you are considering. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also contact some Burbank CA clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and see if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the California school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Enough Training Included? First, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Included? Ask the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional medical facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on practical training often not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Burbank CA healthcare community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Finding your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Burbank CA healthcare community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? Finally, it's critical to confirm that the final program you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is particularly true if you decide to still work while attending college. If you need to 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 part-time, make sure it is an option also. Even if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Pick the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Burbank California
Making certain that you pick the ideal phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care field. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be offered in a wide range of educational institutes, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive array of programs in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings may vary a bit across the country as every state has its own prerequisites when it concerns phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to diligently evaluate and compare each school before making your final decision. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the right phlebotomy college for you. And with the proper training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Burbank CA.