How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist Training Classes near Atascadero CA
Picking the right phlebotomy technician training near Atascadero CA is a critical initial step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult undertaking to analyze and compare each of the school options that are accessible to you. However it's important that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you receive a quality education. In reality, many potential students start their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another factor you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll review more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and must be part of your selection process too. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you choose the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their main duty, there is actually so much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork needs to be correctly filled out 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 tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Atascadero CA laboratories and are responsible for making sure that samples are tested properly under the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they might be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The easiest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are many and varied, such as Atascadero CA hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be charged to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a particular kind of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be collecting blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to complete and offers a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program offer a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not required in most states, a number of Atascadero CA employers look for certification before hiring 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 some states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, such as California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's important that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a superior education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Schools
To begin with, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant portion of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed online, it can be a more practical option for some Atascadero CA students. As an additional benefit, some online schools are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy school you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a quality education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the right option for you.
Should You Train to Be a Phlebotomy Technician?First of all, not many people are likely to know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have previously discussed, the basic answer is a health care professional who draws blood from patients. So of course anyone who decides to enter this profession must be able to handle needles and blood. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Atascadero CA medical environments, well this profession may not be right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians routinely work with anxious people who don’t like needles or having their blood taken. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you will probably be required to work weekends, nights and even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the blood and needles, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the right profession for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Now that you have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already chosen 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 college is relevant if you will be commuting from Atascadero CA in addition to the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online program. All of these decisions are an important part of the process for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to California? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and readies you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you choose should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance of a superior education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Atascadero CA job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of all schools you are considering. 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 research internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also contact some Atascadero CA clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with 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 practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomy 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 signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Ask the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with regional health care facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on clinical training often not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Atascadero CA medical community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Finding your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Atascadero CA medical community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's critical to confirm that the ultimate school you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Atascadero CA, make certain they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option also. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is should you need to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Atascadero California
Making sure that you choose the most suitable phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be available in a number of educational institutions, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive array of programs in medical care and health sciences. Training program options can vary somewhat across the country as every state has its own prerequisites when it pertains to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to diligently screen and compare each college prior to making your final choice. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the right phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Atascadero CA.