How to Select the Best Phlebotomy Technician Training Program near Antioch CA
Enrolling in the right phlebotomist school near Antioch CA is an essential first step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging undertaking to evaluate and compare each of the school alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a quality education. In fact, most prospective students start their search by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional option you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll review more about online schools 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 variables including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and should be part of your selection process as well. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you select the right one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online training.
Request Free information on Phlebotomy Training in Your Area
Phlebotomy Technician Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their main function, there is actually much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the instruments being used are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork needs to be accurately filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing 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 pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Antioch CA labs and are accountable for ensuring that samples are tested correctly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they may be required to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The most basic response is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, such as Antioch CA medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be assigned to collect 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 blood from a particular type of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively 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 working in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients every day.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily 2 types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to finish and provides a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program furnish a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. Although not required in most states, most Antioch CA employers require certification prior to employing technicians. A few of the key 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, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a superior education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Certificates and Degrees
First, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial portion of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical component of the training may be attended online, it can be a more convenient option for some Antioch CA students. As an additional benefit, some online colleges are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some costs, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomist college you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a superior education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the right choice for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Since you now have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already picked the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is important if you will be commuting from Antioch CA as well as the cost of tuition. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy college. All of these decisions are an important part of the process for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are looking at before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws 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 clinical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and readies you for all examinations you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you select should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a premium 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 financial aid or loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Last, earning a certificate or a degree 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 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 essential to investigate the reputations of all colleges you are considering. 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 internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also talk to a few Antioch CA clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and see if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the California school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Ample Training Included? First, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out from the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with local healthcare facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on clinical training typically not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Antioch CA healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Finding your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Antioch CA healthcare community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's critical to make sure that the ultimate college you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is especially true if you choose to still work while attending school. If you need to attend 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, verify it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is should you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Choose the Right Phlebotomy Training near Antioch California
Making certain that you choose the most suitable phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be found in a wide range of educational institutes, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program offerings can differ somewhat across the country as each state has its own mandates when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to thoroughly screen and compare each school prior to making your final decision. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the ideal phlebotomy college for you. And with the proper education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Antioch CA.