How to Find the Right Phlebotomist Training Course near Atascadero CA
Selecting the right phlebotomy technician school near Atascadero CA is a critical first step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult undertaking to evaluate and compare all of the school alternatives that are available to you. However it's important that you do your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a superior education. In fact, a large number of students start the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another factor you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll talk a bit more about online classes later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and must be part of your selection process also. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you choose the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomist Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their principal function, there is actually far more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the tools being utilized are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork has to be correctly filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually 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 sufficient duties, they may be required to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The quickest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are numerous and varied, including Atascadero CA hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a specific type of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be collecting blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients each day.
Phlebotomist Education, Licensing and Certification
There are basically two kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to finish and provides a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they usually take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program provide a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, most Atascadero CA employers look for certification before employing technicians. A few of the key 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, including California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's important that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a quality education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Certificates and Degrees
First, let's dispel one possible misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant part 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 in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical portion of the training can be attended online, it could be a more convenient alternative for some Atascadero CA students. As an additional benefit, some online programs are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some costs, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist college you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a quality education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online might be the right choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Since you now have a general 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 intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is significant if you will be commuting from Atascadero CA as well as the tuition expense. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy school. All of these decisions are an important component of the process for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are looking at before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you pick should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a quality education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Finally, 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 Reputation? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's essential to investigate the reputations of all colleges you are reviewing. 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 also. You can also check with a few Atascadero CA clinics or hospitals that you may 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 find out if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Included? 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. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out from the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with regional health care facilities. They are the optimal means to get hands-on clinical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Atascadero CA medical community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Finding your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Atascadero CA medical community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's crucial to make sure that the final school you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your hectic lifestyle. This is particularly important if you decide to still work while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Atascadero CA, check that they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option also. Even if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is in case you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Pick the Best Phlebotomy Training near Atascadero California
Making sure that you pick the ideal phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomist training programs can be offered in a variety of educational institutions, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive assortment of courses in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings may differ slightly across the country as each state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must diligently evaluate and compare each school prior to making your ultimate selection. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the ideal phlebotomist college for you. And with the proper education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Atascadero CA.