How to Choose the Right Phlebotomy Tech Training Program near Atascadero CA
Enrolling in the right phlebotomy school near Atascadero CA is a critical initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging task to assess and compare all of the school alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a superior education. In fact, most potential students start the process by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Another factor you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll talk more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also important 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 best 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 Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their main task, there is actually much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the tools being utilized are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork must be correctly completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing 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 infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Atascadero CA labs and are accountable for making sure that samples are analyzed properly utilizing the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The simplest answer is wherever there are patients. Their work places are many and varied, including Atascadero CA hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a specific kind of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be collecting blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two types of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to complete and furnishes a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they normally require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program furnish a more extensive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, many Atascadero CA employers require certification prior to employing technicians. Some of the main certifying agencies include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are several states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, like 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 provides a premium education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Schools
To start with, let's dispel one possible mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant portion of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical part of the training may be accessed online, it can be a more practical alternative for some Atascadero CA students. As an added benefit, a number of online schools are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some expenses, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy school you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a quality education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the best option for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Since you now have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the kind of program you intend 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 tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist college. All of these decisions are a critical part of the process for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about each of the colleges you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to California? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed before working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and prepares you for all examinations you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you pick should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a quality education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, 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 Atascadero CA job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of all colleges you are considering. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also contact a few Atascadero CA hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the California school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internships Included? Ask the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with local health care facilities. They are the ideal means to get hands-on practical training frequently not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Atascadero CA healthcare community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Landing your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Atascadero CA health care community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's crucial to verify that the ultimate school you choose offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is particularly important if you decide to still work while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Atascadero CA, make sure they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option also. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Choose the Best Phlebotomist Training near Atascadero California
Making certain that you pick the right phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding health care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be offered in a wide range of academic institutions, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive assortment of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program offerings can vary somewhat across the country as every state has its own mandates when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to carefully research and compare each college before making your final selection. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the best phlebotomy school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Atascadero CA.