How to Pick the Best Phlebotomy Tech Training Course near Atascadero CA
Choosing the ideal phlebotomy school near Atascadero CA is a critical first step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult task to evaluate and compare all of the training options that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you get a quality education. In reality, a large number of potential students begin their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional option you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll discuss 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 including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and must be part of your decision process also. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you choose the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Tech Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their primary responsibility, there is actually much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork needs to be properly filled out in order to track the sample from the time 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 responsible for making certain that samples are analyzed properly using the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The quickest response is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are many and varied, such as Atascadero CA medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be charged to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a certain kind of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients every day.
Phlebotomist Education, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially 2 kinds of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to complete and provides a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomist. 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 require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program provide a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will no doubt 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 principal 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 require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, including Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a premium education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Certificates and Degrees
First, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant portion of the course of study will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical component of the training can be attended online, it could be a more convenient option for some Atascadero CA students. As an added benefit, many online classes are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some costs, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist program you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the best option for you.
Should You Become a Phlebotomy Tech?Right out of the gate, not many people probably know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have already discussed, the basic answer is a medical professional whose job is to draw blood. So naturally anyone who selects this profession must be OK around needles and blood. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Atascadero CA medical environments, well this profession probably is not right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Techs routinely 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 will probably be required to work weekends, nights and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the blood and needles, and if you enjoy helping people and are patient and compassionate, this could be the perfect profession for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist 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 decided on the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is significant if you will be commuting from Atascadero CA in addition to the tuition expense. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. All of these decisions are an important component of the process for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are considering prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and readies you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist 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 advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a quality education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited schools. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Atascadero CA job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of any schools you are considering. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also talk to some Atascadero CA clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and find out 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 Provided? First, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Ask the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with local medical facilities. They are the ideal means to obtain hands-on practical training typically not provided 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 Assistance Provided? Landing your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Atascadero CA health care community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to make sure that the final school you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is particularly true if you opt to still work while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Atascadero CA, make sure they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is should you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Choose the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Atascadero California
Making sure that you select the most suitable phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomy training programs can be available in a number of educational institutes, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide assortment of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program options may differ slightly across the country as each state has its own mandates when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to diligently screen and compare each program before making your ultimate choice. 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 college for you. And with the proper training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Atascadero CA.