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Become a Phlebotomist in Atascadero California

How to Pick the Best Phlebotomist Training Classes near Atascadero CA

Atascadero CA phlebotomist drawing blood from patientEnrolling in the right phlebotomy school near Atascadero CA is an important initial step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult task to assess and compare each of the school options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you do your due diligence to make sure that you get a quality education. In fact, many students start their search by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another option you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and should be part of your decision process too. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online schools.

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Phlebotomy Tech Job Summary

Atascadero CA phlebotomy lab techA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their primary task, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the tools being employed are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork has to be correctly filled out 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 an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Atascadero CA laboratories and are in charge of making sure that samples are tested correctly under the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they can be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.

Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?

The most basic answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are many and diverse, including Atascadero CA hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be charged to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a particular type of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.

Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing

blood analysis performed in Atascadero CA labThere are essentially 2 kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to complete and furnishes a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they typically require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program offer a more extensive background in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, a number of Atascadero CA employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. A few of the main 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 phlebotomy tech, like Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a premium education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.

Online Phlebotomist Colleges

Atascadero CA woman attending phlebotomy school onlineFirst, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant component of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical part of the training may be accessed online, it could be a more practical option for many Atascadero CA students. As an additional benefit, a number of online classes are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenses, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened also. Just verify that the online phlebotomist college you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a quality education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the right choice for you.

What to Ask Phlebotomy Schools

Now that you have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is important if you will be commuting from Atascadero CA as well as the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online college. All of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are looking at prior to making your final decision.

Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed before working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for any exams you may be required to take.

Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you select should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a superior education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Atascadero CA job market.

What is the Program's Ranking? In numerous 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 check the reputations of any schools you are considering. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also contact a few Atascadero CA clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and find out if they can provide any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the California school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.

Is Plenty of Training Provided? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide sufficient training.

Are Internships Sponsored? Find out from the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional healthcare facilities. They are the optimal way to receive hands-on clinical training frequently not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Atascadero CA healthcare community. And they look good on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Atascadero CA health care community.

Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to verify that the ultimate college you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is particularly important 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 available 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 sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is should you need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.

Choose the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Atascadero California

Atascadero CA phlebotomy lab blood testingMaking sure that you select the right phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be found in a number of academic institutions, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide array of programs in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings can vary somewhat from state to state as each state has its own criteria when it pertains to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to diligently screen and compare each college prior to making your final choice. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the right phlebotomy program for you. And with the appropriate training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Atascadero CA.