How to Select the Best Phlebotomist Training Classes near Atascadero CA
Enrolling in the right phlebotomy technician school near Atascadero CA is a critical initial step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging undertaking to evaluate and compare each of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's important that you do your due diligence to ensure that you get a superior education. In fact, most prospective students begin the process by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss 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 finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and should be part of your selection process too. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you pick the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Technician Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their main task, there is actually far more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork must be accurately completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Atascadero CA labs and are in charge of ensuring that samples are analyzed correctly using the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they can be required to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The quickest response is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, such as Atascadero CA hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a specific kind of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be collecting blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily two kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to complete and furnishes a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they normally require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program offer a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, most Atascadero CA employers require certification before employing technicians. Some 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 some states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, such as Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a superior education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Schools
To begin with, let's resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A good component of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical portion of the training can be accessed online, it may be a more convenient alternative for many Atascadero CA students. As an additional benefit, many online colleges are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenditures, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist program you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the best choice for you.
Should You Train to Be a Plebotomist?Right out of the gate, not many people probably know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have previously discussed, the short answer is a health care professional whose job is to draw blood. So naturally anyone who chooses this profession must be OK around blood and needles. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Atascadero CA medical environments, well this profession may not be the best choice for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians often work with nervous people who don’t like needles or having a blood sample taken. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you may be required to work weekends, nights and even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the needles and blood, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the perfect job for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Now that you have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college 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 phlebotomy school. Each of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the colleges you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to California? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed before working 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 enroll in a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you pick should be accredited by a respected 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 school in addition to an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Atascadero CA job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of all schools you are considering. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even talk to a few Atascadero CA hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the California school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? To begin with, 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 classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Provided? Find out from the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with area medical facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on practical training typically not available 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 as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Landing your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Atascadero CA healthcare community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? Finally, it's crucial to confirm that the final school you pick offers classes at times that are compatible with your hectic lifestyle. This is particularly important if you choose to still work while going to college. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Atascadero CA, check that they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option also. And if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is in case you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Training near Atascadero California
Making certain that you select the right phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be offered in a number of educational institutes, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings can differ a bit from state to state as every state has its own prerequisites when it comes to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must thoroughly research and compare each college prior to making your final choice. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the ideal phlebotomy college for you. And with the proper training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Atascadero CA.