How to Select the Best Phlebotomy Tech School near Antioch CA
Picking the ideal phlebotomy training near Antioch CA is an important first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting task to analyze and compare all of the training options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you get a quality education. In fact, a large number of students start their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional factor you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll talk more about online classes later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and should be part of your selection process also. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you select 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 Tech Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their main function, there is actually so much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork has to be correctly filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab screening process. 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 pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Antioch CA laboratories and are in charge of making certain that samples are analyzed properly under the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they might be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The simplest answer is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are numerous and diverse, such as Antioch CA hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be assigned to collect 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 collecting samples from a specific kind of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients every day.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
There are basically 2 kinds of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to finish and provides a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program furnish a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will probably want to be certified. While not required in the majority of states, most Antioch 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 a few states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, like California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a quality education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Colleges
To begin with, let's dispel one potential misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial component of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical part of the training can be accessed online, it can be a more practical alternative for many Antioch CA students. As an added benefit, many online classes are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced also. Just verify that the online phlebotomy program you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a superior education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Now that you have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the type 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 important if you will be commuting from Antioch CA in addition to the cost of tuition. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online college. All of these decisions are an important component of the process for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Following are several questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are looking at before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and prepares you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a quality education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to future employers in the Antioch CA job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also contact some Antioch CA clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the California school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? First, check with 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 reviewing should provide at least 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 comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Ask the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with regional healthcare facilities. They are the optimal means to get hands-on practical training frequently not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Antioch CA medical community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Getting your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Antioch CA healthcare community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's critical to verify that the final school you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your hectic lifestyle. This is particularly important if you decide to still work while attending college. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Antioch CA, make certain they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option as well. 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 protocol is should you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Pick the Best Phlebotomy Training near Antioch California
Making certain that you choose the ideal phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomist training programs are found in a number of educational institutes, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program offerings can vary slightly across the country as every state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to carefully screen and compare each program before making your final selection. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the best phlebotomist program for you. And with the appropriate education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Antioch CA.