How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Tech Training Classes near Atascadero CA
Picking the right phlebotomy training near Atascadero CA is an important initial step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult undertaking to investigate and compare each of the school options that are available to you. However it's vital that you do your due diligence to make sure that you get a superior education. In fact, many students start the process by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional option you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll talk more about online classes later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and should be part of your decision process as well. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online schools.
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Phlebotomist Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their principal duty, there is actually so much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork must be accurately filled out to be able to track the sample from the point 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 may 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 making certain that samples are tested properly utilizing the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they can be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The most basic response is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are numerous and varied, such as Atascadero CA medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples 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 working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily two types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to finish and provides a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they typically take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program furnish a more expansive background in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. While not mandated in most states, many Atascadero CA employers require certification before hiring technicians. A few of the principal certifying organizations include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are several states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, including California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a quality education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Training
First, let's dispel one possible mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial component of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical component of the training may be attended online, it may be a more convenient alternative for many Atascadero CA students. As an additional benefit, some online schools are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenses, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist school you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the right option for you.
Should You Go to School to Become a Plebotomist?First of all, few people are likely to know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have previously discussed, the short definition is a health care professional who draws blood from patients. So naturally anyone who selects this profession must be comfortable with blood and needles. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Atascadero CA medical facilities, well this profession probably is not the best choice for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Techs tend to work around anxious people who don’t like needles or having their blood taken. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you may be expected to work weekends, nights and even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the needles and blood, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the perfect profession for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Since you now have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already decided on 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 campus is significant if you will be commuting from Atascadero CA as well as the cost of tuition. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist college. All of these decisions are a critical part of the process for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are looking at before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and prepares you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you select should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a quality education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited schools. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Atascadero CA job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of any colleges you are reviewing. You can begin 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 rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also check with some Atascadero CA clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can check with the California school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Adequate Training Provided? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with area healthcare facilities. They are the ideal means to obtain hands-on clinical training frequently not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Atascadero CA healthcare community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Getting your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are looking at 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 positions, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Atascadero CA medical community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's crucial to confirm that the ultimate college you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Atascadero CA, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is in case you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Pick the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Atascadero California
Making sure that you enroll in the ideal phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are offered in a variety of educational institutes, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Course offerings may vary a bit across the country as every state has its own mandates when it comes to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical 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 narrow down your options so that you can select the right phlebotomist school for you. And with the proper education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Atascadero CA.