How to Choose the Best Phlebotomy Technician Training Classes near Atascadero CA
Picking the ideal phlebotomist school near Atascadero CA is a critical initial step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging undertaking to assess and compare all of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you get a superior education. In reality, most potential students start the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional factor you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area 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 locating 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 also. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you choose the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomy Technician Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their main duty, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the tools being used are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork must be accurately completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Atascadero CA laboratories and are accountable for making certain that samples are analyzed correctly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they may be required to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
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 banks. They can be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a particular kind of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients every day.
Phlebotomist Education, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to complete and furnishes a general education along with 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, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they normally take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program offer a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, many Atascadero CA employers look for certification prior to 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 in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, like Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's important that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a quality education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Training
First, let's dispel one possible misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial part of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical part of the training can be attended online, it may be a more convenient option for many Atascadero CA students. As an added benefit, a number of online schools are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy school you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a quality education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Since you now have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might 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 relevant if you will be commuting from Atascadero CA in addition to the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online college. Each of these decisions are an important part of the process for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are considering prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a reputable 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 aside from a guarantee of a quality education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Atascadero CA job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of any schools you are looking at. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also contact some Atascadero CA hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and see if they can provide any recommendations. 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 Ample Training Included? First, contact 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 may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with local healthcare facilities. They are the optimal way to get hands-on practical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Atascadero CA medical community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Available? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Atascadero CA healthcare community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's important to make sure that the final college you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is especially true if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Atascadero CA, make sure they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option as well. 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 procedure is should you have to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Pick the Best Phlebotomy Training near Atascadero California
Making certain that you select the ideal phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomist training programs are offered in a number of academic institutions, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program options can vary a bit across the country as every state has its own criteria when it concerns phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to carefully evaluate and compare each school before making your ultimate selection. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomist college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Atascadero CA.