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Become a Phlebotomist in Atascadero California

How to Select the Right Phlebotomy Tech Training Classes near Atascadero CA

Atascadero CA phlebotomist drawing blood from patientChoosing the right phlebotomy school near Atascadero CA is an important first step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging undertaking to analyze and compare each of the training options that are available to you. However it's important that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you get a quality education. In fact, most prospective students start the process by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional option you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll review a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and need to be part of your selection process also. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you choose the best one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online schools.

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Phlebotomy Technician Career Description

Atascadero CA phlebotomist laboratory technicianA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main function, there is actually far more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork has to be accurately completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Atascadero CA laboratories and are responsible for making certain that samples are tested properly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they may be required to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.

Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?

The quickest answer is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are numerous and varied, such as Atascadero CA hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a particular kind of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be collecting blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients each day.

Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification

blood analysis performed in Atascadero CA laboratoryThere are basically 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to finish and offers a basic education together with 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 phlebotomist degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program provide a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not mandated in most states, most Atascadero CA employers require certification before hiring technicians. A few of the primary 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 phlebotomy tech, like Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a superior education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.

Phlebotomist Online Certificates and Degrees

Atascadero CA woman attending phlebotomy school onlineTo begin with, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant portion of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical component of the training may be attended online, it might be a more practical alternative for some Atascadero CA students. As an added benefit, some online colleges are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some expenditures, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist college you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a quality education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the ideal option for you.

What to Ask Phlebotomy Programs

Since you now have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already selected the type of program you wish 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 tuition expense. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist college. Each of these decisions are an important part of the process for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you should ask about all of the colleges you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection.

Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to California? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to choose 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 College Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you pick should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance of a quality education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Atascadero CA job market.

What is the School's Ranking? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of any schools you are looking at. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even check with a few Atascadero CA clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and find out if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the California school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.

Is Sufficient Training Provided? First, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing 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 reviewing should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.

Are Internships Included? Ask the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with local medical facilities. They are the ideal means to get hands-on clinical training typically 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 Assistance Available? Finding your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high 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 medical community.

Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's crucial to verify that the final school you pick offers classes at times that are compatible with your active schedule. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while going to school. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Atascadero CA, make sure they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option also. And if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is should you need to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.

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Choose the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Atascadero California

Making sure that you enroll in the most suitable phlebotomist training is a critical 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 go into the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are found in a wide range of educational institutions, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program options may differ somewhat across the country as each state has its own requirements when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to carefully research and compare each program before making your final choice. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the best phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Atascadero CA.