How to Choose the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Atascadero CA
Selecting the ideal phlebotomist training near Atascadero CA is a critical first step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting task to evaluate and compare all of the training alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you get a quality education. In fact, a large number of prospective students begin the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another factor you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll review a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need 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 reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and must be part of your selection process as well. 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 select the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary duty, there is actually far more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the instruments being used are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be correctly filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab screening procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Atascadero CA labs and are in charge of making sure that samples are analyzed properly using the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they can be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The quickest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are many and varied, such as Atascadero CA medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be charged to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a specific type of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home 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. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Education, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to complete and provides a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they normally require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will probably want to get certified. While not required in most states, most 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, including California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a superior education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Classes
To start with, 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 clinical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed online, it might be a more convenient option for many Atascadero CA students. As an additional benefit, many online classes are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some costs, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened also. Just verify that the online phlebotomy school you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a superior education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Now that you have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may 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 Atascadero CA in addition to the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online college. All of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that meets 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 College Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program 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 a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are frequently not available 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 Atascadero CA job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of any colleges you are reviewing. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also contact a few Atascadero CA clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and see if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can check with the California school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Included? First, contact the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with area health care facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on clinical training frequently not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Atascadero CA medical community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Atascadero CA healthcare community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's crucial to confirm that the final program you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your hectic lifestyle. This is particularly true if you choose to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Atascadero CA, make certain they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option also. And if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is should you need to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Atascadero California
Making sure that you enroll in the most suitable phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare field. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are found in a wide range of academic institutions, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive range of programs in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings can vary slightly from state to state as every state has its own prerequisites when it comes to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must thoroughly screen and compare each school before making your final decision. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the right phlebotomy college for you. And with the proper education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Atascadero CA.