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Become a Phlebotomist in Atascadero California

How to Choose the Right Phlebotomy Technician Training Classes near Atascadero CA

Atascadero CA phlebotomist drawing blood from patientChoosing the ideal phlebotomy technician school near Atascadero CA is a critical initial step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging task to analyze and compare each of the school options that are available to you. However it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you get a superior education. In fact, most prospective students start their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another factor you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll review a bit more about online schools later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and should be part of your decision process also. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you select the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online training.

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Phlebotomy Technician Work Summary

Atascadero CA phlebotomist laboratory techA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their principal function, there is actually so much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be accurately completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Atascadero CA laboratories and are accountable for ensuring that samples are analyzed correctly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they can be asked to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.

Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?

The simplest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are numerous and diverse, such as Atascadero CA medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, 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, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a particular type of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be collecting blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.

Phlebotomy Technician Training, Licensing and Certification

blood testing performed in Atascadero CA labThere are primarily 2 kinds of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to finish and provides a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they normally take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not required in most states, a number of Atascadero CA employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. A few 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 a few states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a quality education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.

Phlebotomist Online Classes

Atascadero California woman attending phlebotomy classes onlineTo begin with, let's dispel one possible misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial portion of the course of study will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed online, it might be a more convenient option for many Atascadero CA students. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenditures, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomist program you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a superior education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the right choice for you.

Points to Ask Phlebotomist Programs

Now that you have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already picked the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is significant if you will be commuting from Atascadero CA as well as the tuition expense. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online program. All of these decisions are an important component of the process for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are looking at before making your ultimate decision.

Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for all exams you may have to take.

Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you pick should be accredited by a respected 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 a guarantee of a premium education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future employers in the Atascadero CA job market.

What is the School's Ranking? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also contact several Atascadero CA hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest 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 full compliance.

Is Sufficient Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.

Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional health care facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on practical training typically not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Atascadero CA medical community. And they look good on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Atascadero CA medical community.

Are Class Times Available as Needed? And last, it's important to verify that the ultimate program you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is particularly true if you decide to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Atascadero CA, check that they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option also. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is should you need to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.

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Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training near Atascadero California

Making sure that you enroll in the right phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomist training programs can be offered in a variety of educational institutes, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options can vary a bit from state to state as every state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must thoroughly research and compare each program before making your final choice. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the best phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Atascadero CA.