How to Choose the Best Phlebotomy Technician Training Course near Antioch CA
Choosing the right phlebotomist school near Antioch CA is an important first step toward a rewarding 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 vital that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a superior education. In fact, many students start the process by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another factor you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll discuss more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and must be part of your decision process as well. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you pick the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Tech Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their principal duty, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the tools being utilized are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork needs to be correctly completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Antioch CA labs and are accountable for making certain that samples are analyzed properly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they may be required to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The most basic response is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are many and diverse, such as Antioch CA hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a specific type 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 working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to finish and offers a general education together 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, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program provide a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not required in most states, many Antioch CA employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. A few 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 a few states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, including Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a premium education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Certificates and Degrees
First, let's resolve one likely mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial portion of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical component of the training may be accessed online, it may be a more convenient alternative for some Antioch CA students. As an added benefit, many online classes are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some costs, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy college you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a premium education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Since you now have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is important if you will be commuting from Antioch CA as well as the cost of tuition. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online school. All of these decisions are an important component of the process for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed before working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and preps you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to a guarantee of a quality education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Antioch CA job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's essential to check out the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even check with several Antioch CA hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the California school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? First, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Ask the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with local healthcare facilities. They are the ideal means to receive hands-on practical training frequently not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Antioch CA healthcare community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Landing your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Antioch CA medical community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's critical to verify that the ultimate school you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is especially true if you decide to still work while going to college. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Antioch CA, make certain they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is in case you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Antioch California
Making sure that you choose the ideal phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care field. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomist training programs are available in a wide range of academic institutions, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Training program options may differ slightly across the country as each state has its own criteria when it pertains to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must carefully screen 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 pick the ideal phlebotomy program for you. And with the proper training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Antioch CA.