How to Pick the Right Phlebotomy Technician School near Antioch CA
Choosing the right phlebotomist school near Antioch CA is an essential initial step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting task to investigate and compare all of the training options that are available to you. However it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you receive a quality education. In fact, most potential students begin their search by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Another factor you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll review a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is far 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 should be part of your selection process also. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you choose the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their main responsibility, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be correctly completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Antioch CA laboratories and are accountable for ensuring that samples are analyzed properly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they might be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The easiest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are numerous and diverse, including Antioch CA hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a specific type of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients each day.
Phlebotomist Training, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to finish and provides a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they normally require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program furnish a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. While not mandated in most states, a number of Antioch CA employers require certification before employing technicians. Some of the primary certifying agencies 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 California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a premium education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Schools
To start with, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial portion of the course of study will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical portion of the training may be accessed online, it could be a more practical alternative for some Antioch CA students. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some costs, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist program you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a premium education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the best option for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Since you now have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate 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 school is relevant if you will be commuting from Antioch CA in addition to the tuition expense. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist 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 sole considerations when making your decision. Following are several questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to California? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed before working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and preps you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you choose should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance of a premium education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Antioch CA job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of any colleges you are considering. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even contact several Antioch CA hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the California school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Ample Training Provided? To begin with, 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. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with local medical facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on clinical training frequently not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Antioch CA medical community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Available? Getting your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Antioch CA health care community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to make sure that the final school you choose offers classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is particularly important if you decide to still work while going to college. If you need to go to classes at night 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, make sure it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is in case you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Antioch California
Making certain that you select the most suitable phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare field. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are offered in a variety of academic institutions, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide assortment of courses in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings can differ somewhat from state to state as each state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must thoroughly research and compare each program before making your final choice. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the ideal phlebotomist program for you. And with the appropriate education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Antioch CA.