How to Select the Best Phlebotomist Training Classes near Antioch CA
Picking the right phlebotomy training near Antioch CA is a critical initial step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging undertaking to evaluate and compare all of the school options that are available to you. However it's important that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a quality education. In fact, a large number of students start the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another factor you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll review more about online schools later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is much 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 should be part of your decision 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 choose the right one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomist Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their primary function, there is actually much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the tools being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be accurately completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab screening 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 infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Antioch CA laboratories and are responsible for ensuring that samples are analyzed properly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they might be required to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The easiest response is wherever there are patients. Their work places are many and varied, including Antioch CA medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be charged to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a particular type of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be drawing blood from older patients. If they are practicing 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 samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients each day.
Phlebotomist Education, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to complete 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, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they typically require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program offer a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to get certified. While not required in the majority of states, most Antioch CA employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. A few of the main certifying agencies 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, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a premium education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Certificates and Degrees
To start with, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial component of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical component of the training can be accessed online, it can be a more convenient alternative for many Antioch CA students. As an added benefit, some online colleges are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some costs, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy college you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Now that you have a basic idea 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 wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is relevant if you will be commuting from Antioch CA as well as the tuition expense. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy program. All of these decisions are a critical component of the process for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to California? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed before working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and readies you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist 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 program in addition to an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Antioch CA job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of any schools you are considering. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even check with several Antioch CA clinics or hospitals that you may 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 submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Included? First, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out from the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with area health care facilities. They are the ideal means to get hands-on clinical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Antioch CA healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Landing your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Antioch CA healthcare community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to confirm that the final school you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your hectic schedule. This is especially true if you decide to still work while going to school. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Antioch CA, make sure they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, confirm 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 find out what the make-up procedure is in case you need to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Choose the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Antioch California
Making certain that you pick the most suitable phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are available in a wide range of academic institutions, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive range of programs in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings may vary slightly from state to state as each state has its own requirements when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to diligently research and compare each college before making your final choice. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the ideal phlebotomist program for you. And with the appropriate education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Antioch CA.