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Become a Phlebotomist in Antioch California

How to Select the Right Phlebotomist Training Classes near Antioch CA

Antioch CA phlebotomist drawing bloodPicking the ideal phlebotomy training near Antioch CA is an important first step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting task to evaluate and compare each of the school options that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you receive a superior education. In fact, most potential students begin their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Another option you may 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 you need to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and should be part of your selection process too. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online classes.

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Phlebotomist Career Description

Antioch CA phlebotomist lab techA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their main function, there is actually far more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork must be correctly completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Antioch CA laboratories and are accountable for making sure that samples are tested properly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they can be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.

Where do Phlebotomists Work?

The simplest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are numerous and diverse, such as Antioch CA medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a particular type of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients on a daily basis.

Phlebotomy Technician Training, Licensing and Certification

blood analysis performed in Antioch CA laboratoryThere are essentially 2 kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to complete and provides a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program offer a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, many Antioch CA employers look for certification prior to employing technicians. A few of the main certifying organizations include:

  • National Phlebotomy Association
  • National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
  • American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
  • American Medical Technologists (AMT)

There are several states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, including Nevada and California. California and a few other 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 licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.

Phlebotomist Online Certificates and Degrees

Antioch California student attending phlebotomy training onlineFirst, let's dispel one possible misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant part 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. Numerous courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical component of the training may be attended online, it could be a more convenient alternative for many Antioch CA students. As an additional benefit, some online classes are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenses, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy program you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a quality education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online may be the ideal choice for you.

Should You Go to School to Become a Plebotomist?

First of all, few people probably know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have previously discussed, the basic answer is a health care professional who draws blood from patients. So naturally anyone who chooses this profession must be comfortable with needles and blood. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Antioch CA medical environments, well this profession probably is not right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Techs routinely work around anxious people who hate needles or having their blood taken. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you may be required to work weekends, evenings and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the needles and blood, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are patient and compassionate, this could be the perfect profession for you.

Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges

What to ask Antioch CA phlebotomy schoolsSince you now have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already decided on 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 in addition to the cost of tuition. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist school. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are reviewing before making your final decision.

Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomy program that fulfills 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 Program Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you choose should be accredited by a respected 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 in addition to an assurance of a superior education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future employers in the Antioch CA job market.

What is the School's Ranking? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of all colleges you are reviewing. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also talk to several Antioch CA clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the California school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.

Is Ample Training Provided? To begin with, 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. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to offer sufficient training.

Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out from the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with area healthcare facilities. They are the optimal means to get hands-on practical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Antioch CA medical community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Antioch CA medical community.

Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to confirm that the ultimate school you pick offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is especially important if you choose to still work while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Antioch CA, make sure they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option also. 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 have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.

Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Antioch California

Making certain that you pick the most suitable phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding health care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomist training programs are found in a variety of academic institutes, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive assortment of programs in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings can vary somewhat from state to state as every state has its own criteria when it concerns phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must thoroughly screen and compare each program before making your ultimate selection. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the best phlebotomy school for you. And with the proper education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Antioch CA.