How to Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training Classes near Atascadero CA
Picking the right phlebotomy school near Atascadero CA is an essential first step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting undertaking to assess and compare each of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's important that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you get a quality education. In reality, many 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 local campus. We'll review more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and should be part of your decision process also. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you select the right one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online schools.
Request Free information on Phlebotomy Training in Your Area
Phlebotomist Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary duty, there is actually far more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the instruments being utilized are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be accurately filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab screening 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. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Atascadero CA labs and are accountable for making certain that samples are tested properly utilizing the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they may be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The simplest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are many and diverse, including 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 infants or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a specific type of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to complete and provides a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they typically require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, many Atascadero CA employers require 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 call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, like California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a quality education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Certificates and Degrees
To start with, let's resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist 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. But since the non-clinical component of the training can be accessed online, it may be a more practical alternative for many Atascadero CA students. As an additional benefit, some online colleges are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomy school you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Since you now have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already chosen 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 college is important if you will be commuting from Atascadero CA in addition to the cost of tuition. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy school. All of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns 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 Specific to California? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and prepares you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a premium education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Atascadero CA job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of all schools you are reviewing. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even check with a few Atascadero CA clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and find out if they can offer any insights. As a closing thought, you can check with the California school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Provided? First, check with the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out from the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with regional healthcare facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on practical training often not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Atascadero CA healthcare community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Getting your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Atascadero CA health care community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's crucial to make sure that the final program you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is especially true if you decide to continue working while going to college. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Atascadero CA, make certain they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option as well. And if you have decided to study 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 have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Pick the Best Phlebotomy Training near Atascadero California
Making sure that you choose the ideal phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be available in a number of academic institutes, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive assortment of programs in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings can differ somewhat from state to state as every state has its own prerequisites when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must diligently evaluate and compare each college before making your ultimate decision. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the best phlebotomist college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Atascadero CA.