How to Find the Best Phlebotomy Tech School near Atascadero CA
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomist training near Atascadero CA is an essential initial step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting undertaking to assess and compare all of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's important that you do your due diligence to make sure that you get a superior education. In reality, many prospective students begin the process by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another option you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll talk a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your decision process also. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you choose the right one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their principal duty, there is actually much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the tools being used are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork must be correctly filled out to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory 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. Many phlebotomists actually work in Atascadero CA labs and are in charge of making sure that samples are tested correctly under the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they can be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The quickest answer is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, including Atascadero CA medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be charged to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a certain kind of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home 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 exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Training, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially 2 kinds of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to finish and furnishes a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they usually require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program provide a more extensive background in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. While not required in most states, many Atascadero CA employers require certification prior to employing technicians. A few of the principal 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, including Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a superior education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Colleges
To begin with, let's resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A good component 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. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical portion of the training can be accessed online, it could be a more practical alternative for many Atascadero CA students. As an additional benefit, some online classes are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenses, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist school you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive 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 ideal choice for you.
Should You Go to School to Become a Plebotomist?First of all, not many people probably know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have previously discussed, the short definition is a medical professional who draws blood from patients. So of course anyone who decides to enter this profession must be OK around needles and blood. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Atascadero CA medical facilities, 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 hate needles or having their blood drawn. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you may be required to work weekends, evenings and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the blood and needles, and if you enjoy helping people and are patient and compassionate, this could be the right job for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
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 certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is relevant if you will be commuting from Atascadero CA in addition to the tuition expense. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online school. All of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when making 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 selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may need 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 practicing and readies you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a superior education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited colleges. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Atascadero CA job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also talk to a few Atascadero CA clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and find out if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the California school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? First, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with regional healthcare facilities. They are the ideal means to get hands-on clinical training often not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Atascadero CA health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are looking at provide 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 college has both a good reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Atascadero CA healthcare community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to confirm that the ultimate school you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is particularly true if you opt to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Atascadero CA, make sure they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option as well. And if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is in case you have to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist Training near Atascadero California
Making sure that you select the right phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are available in a wide range of educational institutes, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings may vary somewhat from state to state as each state has its own requirements when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to diligently evaluate and compare each program prior to making your ultimate selection. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the right phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Atascadero CA.