Home >> California >> Atascadero >> Phlebotomy Programs


Become a Phlebotomist in Atascadero California

How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Technician Training Program near Atascadero CA

Atascadero CA phlebotomist drawing bloodChoosing the right phlebotomist training near Atascadero CA is an important initial step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting task to assess and compare each of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's important that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you get a superior education. In reality, a large number of students start their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional factor you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll discuss more about online schools later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and need to be part of your selection process as well. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you pick the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online schools.

Request Free information on Phlebotomy Training in Your Area

Phlebotomist Career Summary

Atascadero CA phlebotomy lab techA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their primary function, there is actually much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample needs to be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork must be properly filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory screening process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Atascadero CA laboratories and are responsible for ensuring that samples are analyzed correctly under the strictest quality assurance 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 Phlebotomists Practice?

The easiest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are many and varied, such as Atascadero CA medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a certain kind of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients each day.

Phlebotomist Training, Certification and Licensing

blood testing performed in Atascadero CA laboratoryThere are essentially two kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to complete and offers a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest method 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 phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they typically require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program furnish a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, a number of Atascadero CA employers look for certification before employing technicians. Some of the primary 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 phlebotomy tech, such as Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a superior education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.

Online Phlebotomist Training

Atascadero CA woman attending phlebotomy school onlineTo begin with, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial component of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical portion of the training may be attended online, it can be a more convenient option for some Atascadero CA students. As an added benefit, a number of online colleges are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenses, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist program you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the best choice for you.

Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Schools

Now that you have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is significant if you will be commuting from Atascadero CA in addition to the cost of tuition. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online program. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the process for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you should ask about each of the colleges you are looking at prior to making your final decision.

Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and preps you for any examinations you may have to take.

Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Finally, 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 Program's Ranking? In many 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 check the reputations of all schools you are looking at. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen 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 clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and find out if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the California school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.

Is Ample Training Included? To begin with, contact 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 looking at should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.

Are Internships Provided? Find out from the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with area medical facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on clinical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Atascadero CA health care community. And they look good on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Support Provided? Finding your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Atascadero CA health care community.

Are Classes Available as Needed? Finally, it's critical to make sure that the final program you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you decide to still work while going to school. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Atascadero CA, make certain they are offered at those times. Also, 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 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 as a result of emergencies or illness.

Choose the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Atascadero California

Atascadero CA phlebotomy lab blood testingMaking certain that you enroll in the most suitable phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare career position. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are available in a wide range of educational institutes, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program options may vary somewhat from state to state as every state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must thoroughly screen and compare each program prior to making your final decision. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the best phlebotomy program for you. And with the appropriate training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Atascadero CA.