How to Pick the Right Phlebotomist School near Antioch CA
Selecting the right phlebotomy technician school near Antioch CA is a critical first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult task to assess and compare each of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's important that you do your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a quality education. In reality, a large number of students begin the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional factor you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll review 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 finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and should be part of your selection process too. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomy Technician Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their primary task, there is actually far more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the instruments being utilized are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be properly filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Antioch CA labs and are in charge of ensuring that samples are analyzed properly using the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they may be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The easiest response is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are numerous and diverse, such as Antioch CA medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a certain kind of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be collecting blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing
There are basically 2 types of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to complete and provides a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they usually require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program provide a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, a number of Antioch CA employers look for certification prior to employing technicians. A few of the principal 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 phlebotomist, including Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's important that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a superior education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Colleges
To begin with, let's resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial part of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical part of the training can be accessed online, it could be a more convenient option for some Antioch CA students. As an added benefit, many online classes are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy program you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a quality education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the ideal choice for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Now that you have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already picked the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is important if you will be commuting from Antioch CA in addition to the tuition expense. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist college. Each of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are considering prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to California? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. 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 practicing and preps you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you select should be accredited by a recognized 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 program in addition to an assurance of a quality education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited colleges. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Antioch CA job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In a number of 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 essential to check out the reputations of all colleges you are reviewing. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also talk to a few Antioch CA clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and find out if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the California school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Adequate Training Provided? First, contact the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with local healthcare facilities. They are the optimal means to get hands-on clinical training often not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Antioch CA healthcare community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Antioch CA health care community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? Finally, it's important to make sure that the final school you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is particularly important if you opt to still work while attending college. If you can only 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 part-time, make sure it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is in case you need to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Pick the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Antioch California
Making sure that you pick the most suitable phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be available in a number of academic institutions, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide array of programs in medical care and health sciences. Training program options may vary somewhat from state to state as every state has its own requirements when it concerns phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must carefully evaluate and compare each program before making your final selection. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomy school for you. And with the proper education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Antioch CA.