How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist School near Antioch CA
Picking the ideal phlebotomist school near Antioch CA is a critical initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging task to analyze and compare each of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's important that you do your due diligence to ensure that you get a superior education. In reality, many prospective students start the process by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another factor you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll talk more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is much 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 decision process as well. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you select the best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Technician Work Summary
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. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the instruments being utilized are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork needs to be accurately completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Antioch CA labs and are accountable for making certain that samples are tested correctly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they can be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The easiest response is wherever there are patients. Their work places are many and varied, including Antioch CA medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending 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 exclusively be collecting blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily two kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to complete and furnishes a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they typically require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program furnish a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not required in the majority of states, most Antioch CA employers require certification prior to employing technicians. Some of the principal certifying agencies include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are some states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, such as California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a superior education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Colleges
To start with, let's resolve one possible misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A good portion of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical component of the training may be attended online, it can be a more practical option for some Antioch CA students. As an added benefit, many online colleges are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenditures, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy school you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a quality 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.
Should You Go to School to Become a Plebotomist?First of all, not many people are likely to know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have already discussed, the short definition is a health care professional who draws blood from patients. So of course anyone who selects this profession must be comfortable with needles and blood. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Antioch CA medical environments, well this job probably is not the best choice for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians often work with anxious people who hate needles or having their blood drawn. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably be required to work weekends, nights and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the needles and blood, and if you enjoy helping people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the right job for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Since you now have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is important if you will be commuting from Antioch CA as well as the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy college. Each of these decisions are an important component of the process for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are looking at before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed before working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may need 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 examinations you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a quality education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, 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 College'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 in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of all schools you are reviewing. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even talk to several Antioch CA clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and see if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the California school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Provided? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out from the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional medical facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on practical training often not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Antioch CA health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Finding your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying 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 medical community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to confirm that the final program you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your hectic lifestyle. This is particularly true if you choose to continue working while going to school. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Antioch CA, check that 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 study online, with the practical training requirement, make sure 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 emergencies or illness.
Choose the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Antioch California
Making certain that you select the ideal phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying health care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be offered in a number of academic institutions, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings may differ somewhat from state to state as every state has its own mandates when it comes to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to carefully evaluate and compare each school before making your ultimate decision. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomist school for you. And with the proper training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Antioch CA.