How to Choose the Right Phlebotomy Tech School near Atascadero CA
Choosing the ideal phlebotomy training near Atascadero CA is an essential initial step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult task to investigate and compare each of the school options that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a quality education. In reality, a large number of potential students start the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll review more about online schools later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and should be part of your selection process as well. 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 pick the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Technician Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary duty, there is actually much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm 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 accurately completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory screening process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Atascadero CA laboratories and are responsible for making sure that samples are tested correctly under the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they may be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The most basic response is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are many and diverse, including Atascadero CA hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be charged to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a certain type of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood 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 two types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to finish and provides a basic 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, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program offer a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not mandated in most states, a number of Atascadero CA employers require certification before employing 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 a few states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, such as Nevada and California. 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 supplies a superior education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Schools
To begin with, let's dispel one possible mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant component of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical component of the training may be accessed online, it could be a more practical alternative for many Atascadero CA students. As an additional benefit, a number of online colleges are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some costs, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist program you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Now that you have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already picked the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is significant if you will be commuting from Atascadero CA as well as the tuition expense. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy school. Each of these decisions are an important component of the process for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you need to ask about each of the colleges you are reviewing before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, 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 amount of practical training completed before working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and prepares you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you select should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance of a quality education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future employers in the Atascadero CA job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of all colleges you are considering. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even check with some Atascadero CA clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the California school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Included? 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 phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Find out from the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with area healthcare facilities. They are the ideal means to obtain hands-on practical training frequently not provided 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 Support Provided? Getting your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the assistance 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, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Atascadero CA medical community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? And last, it's important to confirm that the final school you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while going to school. 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, make sure it is an option also. And if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is should you have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Training near Atascadero California
Making sure that you enroll in the ideal phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying health care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are available in a number of academic institutes, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive range of programs in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings can differ a bit from state to state as every state has its own requirements when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must carefully screen and compare each school prior to making your ultimate selection. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the best phlebotomist college for you. And with the proper education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Atascadero CA.