How to Pick the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Antioch CA
Choosing the right phlebotomy technician training near Antioch CA is an essential first step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting task to assess and compare all of the school options that are available to you. However it's vital that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a superior education. In fact, many prospective students begin their search by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Another 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 much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and should be part of your selection process also. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you choose the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Technician Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their principal task, there is actually far more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the instruments being used 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 correctly completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing procedure. The phlebotomist then transports 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. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Antioch CA labs and are accountable for making sure that samples are tested properly under the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they may be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The easiest response is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are numerous and diverse, such as Antioch CA medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a particular type of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily 2 types of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to complete and furnishes a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program furnish a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. While not required in most states, a number of Antioch CA employers look for certification before hiring technicians. A few 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 some states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, like California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's important that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a premium education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Classes
To start with, let's dispel one possible mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant portion of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical part of the training can be accessed online, it could be a more practical alternative for some Antioch CA students. As an additional benefit, many online programs are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist program you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the ideal option for you.
Should You Go to School to Become a Phlebotomy Technician?First of all, not many people are likely to know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have previously discussed, the basic answer is a health care professional whose job is to draw blood. So naturally anyone who selects this profession must be comfortable with blood and needles. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Antioch CA medical facilities, well this job may not be the best choice for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Techs often work around anxious people who hate needles or having a blood sample taken. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you will probably be required to work weekends, nights and even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the needles and blood, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are patient and compassionate, this may be the perfect job for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Now that you have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already decided on the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is significant if you will be commuting from Antioch CA as well as the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online school. All of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the colleges you are considering before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and readies you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you choose should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages 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 getting loans or financial assistance, 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 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 caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of any schools you are looking at. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also contact some Antioch CA hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the California school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Included? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomy 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 lower than these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internships Provided? Find out from the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with local healthcare facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on clinical training often not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Antioch CA healthcare community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Antioch CA healthcare community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? And last, it's important to verify that the final school you pick offers classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is especially important if you opt to still work while going to school. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Antioch CA, make sure they are available 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 study online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled 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.
Pick the Right Phlebotomist Training near Antioch California
Making certain that you select the right phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are available in a wide range of educational institutions, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive range of programs in medical care and health sciences. Course options can vary somewhat from state to state as every state has its own prerequisites when it pertains to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to thoroughly evaluate and compare each program before making your final decision. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the right phlebotomist college for you. And with the appropriate education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Antioch CA.