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Become a Phlebotomist in Antioch California

How to Choose the Best Phlebotomy Technician Training Course near Antioch CA

Antioch CA phlebotomist drawing bloodChoosing the right phlebotomy technician school near Antioch CA is an essential initial step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult undertaking to evaluate and compare all of the school options that are available to you. However it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a superior education. In fact, many potential students begin the process by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional factor you may look into 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 checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and must be part of your selection process too. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you pick the right one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online classes.

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Phlebotomist Work Description

Antioch CA phlebotomist lab technicianA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their primary task, there is actually much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork has to be accurately filled out to be able 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 responsible for making sure that samples are tested properly under the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.

Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?

The most basic answer is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are many and varied, including Antioch CA hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be charged to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a certain type of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be collecting blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients every day.

Phlebotomy Technician Training, Certification and Licensing

blood analysis done in Antioch CA laboratoryThere are primarily 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to finish and furnishes a basic 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, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they normally take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program provide a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. While not required in most states, a number of Antioch CA employers look for certification before employing technicians. Some of the primary 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 require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, like California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a premium education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.

Online Phlebotomy Training

Antioch California woman attending phlebotomy school onlineTo begin with, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't receive 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 completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical part of the training may be accessed online, it may be a more practical option for many Antioch CA students. As an additional benefit, some online programs are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenses, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened as well. Just make sure 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 premium education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the right choice for you.

Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Schools

Now that you have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already selected the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is important if you will be commuting from Antioch CA as well as the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online college. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are considering prior to making your final selection.

Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed before working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and prepares you for all exams you may be required to take.

Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy 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 several advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Antioch CA job market.

What is the Program's Reputation? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of all colleges you are considering. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even talk to a few Antioch CA hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and find out if they can offer any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the California school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.

Is Enough Training Provided? First, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. As 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 less than these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer sufficient training.

Are Internships Sponsored? Ask the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with area healthcare facilities. They are the ideal means to receive hands-on clinical training typically not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Antioch CA medical community. And they look good on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Support Offered? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Antioch CA medical community.

Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's critical to verify that the final college you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is particularly important if you choose to still work while going to school. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Antioch CA, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option also. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is in case you need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.

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Choose the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Antioch California

Making sure that you select the right phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare field. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be offered in a wide range of academic institutions, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings can differ somewhat across the country as each state has its own criteria when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to diligently evaluate and compare each college prior to making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Antioch CA.