How to Select the Best Phlebotomist School near Antioch CA
Picking the right phlebotomy technician school near Antioch CA is an essential first step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging undertaking to investigate and compare each of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you receive a superior education. In fact, many potential students start their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional factor you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and must be part of your decision process as well. Toward that end, 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 then resume our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomy Tech Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary responsibility, there is in fact much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork has to be correctly completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Antioch CA laboratories and are responsible for making sure that samples are analyzed properly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they may be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The easiest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are numerous and diverse, including Antioch CA medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a specific kind of patient. For instance, 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 mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients every day.
Phlebotomist Education, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily two kinds of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to complete and offers 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, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they normally require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program provide a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not mandated in most states, many Antioch CA employers look for certification before employing technicians. Some of the principal 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, such as Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a superior education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Training
To begin with, let's dispel one possible mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant component of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical portion of the training may be accessed online, it might be a more practical alternative for many Antioch CA students. As an added benefit, some online classes are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenditures, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy program you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the ideal option for you.
Should You Go to School to Become a Plebotomist?Right out of the gate, not many people are likely to know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have already discussed, the basic answer is a medical professional whose job is to draw blood. So of course anyone who decides to enter this profession must be OK around blood and needles. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Antioch CA medical facilities, well this profession may not be right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomists often work around nervous people who hate needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you may 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 right job for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Since you now have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already decided on the kind of program you intend 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 opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online program. All of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you should ask about all of the colleges you are reviewing before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you choose should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a premium education. First, 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 organizations. Next, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited colleges. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to future employers in the Antioch CA job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of any schools you are looking at. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their students as part of their job assistance program. You can screen internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also check with a few Antioch CA hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and ask 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? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internships Provided? Find out from the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with area health care facilities. They are the optimal means to get hands-on practical training typically not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Antioch CA healthcare community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Available? Finding your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Antioch CA medical community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's critical to make sure that the ultimate program you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is especially true if you decide to still work while going to school. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Antioch CA, check that they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option also. And if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is should you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Antioch California
Making sure that you choose the ideal phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be found in a number of academic institutions, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course options may vary somewhat across the country as each state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to thoroughly evaluate and compare each college prior to making your final selection. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomist college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Antioch CA.