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Become a Phlebotomist in Atascadero California

How to Find the Right Phlebotomy Technician Training Classes near Atascadero CA

Atascadero CA phlebotomist drawing blood from patientChoosing the right phlebotomy technician training near Atascadero CA is an essential initial step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging task to analyze and compare each of the training alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's important that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you receive a superior education. In reality, most students start their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional factor you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll talk more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and must be part of your decision process too. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you choose the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online schools.

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Phlebotomist Career Summary

Atascadero CA phlebotomy lab techA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main function, there is in fact far more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the tools being utilized are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork needs to be accurately filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Atascadero CA labs and are responsible for making sure that samples are tested correctly utilizing the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they can be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.

Where do Phlebotomists Practice?

The simplest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are numerous and diverse, including Atascadero CA medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, based 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 exclusively be collecting blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients on a daily basis.

Phlebotomist Education, Certification and Licensing

blood analysis done in Atascadero CA laboratoryThere are basically 2 kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to complete and offers a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they usually take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, a number of Atascadero CA employers require certification prior to employing technicians. Some 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, such as California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a superior education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.

Online Phlebotomy Colleges

Atascadero CA woman attending phlebotomy school onlineTo start with, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant portion of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical part of the training may be attended online, it might be a more convenient alternative for some Atascadero CA students. As an added benefit, a number of online colleges are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some expenses, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered also. Just verify that the online phlebotomist program you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a premium education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the ideal option for you.

Should You Train to Be a Phlebotomy Tech?

Right out of the gate, not many people probably know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have previously discussed, the basic definition is a health care professional whose job is to draw blood. So naturally anyone who chooses this profession must be OK around needles and blood. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Atascadero CA medical environments, well this job may not be right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians tend to work with nervous people who hate needles or having a blood sample taken. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably be expected to work weekends, evenings and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the blood and needles, and if you enjoy helping people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the right profession for you.

Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Schools

What to ask Atascadero CA phlebotomy schoolsNow that you have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the kind of program you want 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 tuition expense. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy college. All of these decisions are an important component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision.

Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very 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 all exams you may be required to take.

Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you choose should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a quality education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in getting 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 future employers in the Atascadero CA job market.

What is the School's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check out the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. 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 reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also talk to some Atascadero CA hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the California school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.

Is Enough Training Provided? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn 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 provide 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 offer sufficient training.

Are Internship Programs Included? Find out from the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with regional medical facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on clinical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Atascadero CA health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Support Offered? Getting your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Atascadero CA health care community.

Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's important to confirm that the final school you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is especially important if you opt to still work while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Atascadero CA, make certain they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option also. 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 in case you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.

Enroll in the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Atascadero California

Making sure that you select the ideal phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are found in a variety of educational institutes, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings may vary slightly across the country as each state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must carefully research and compare each program before making your final decision. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the best phlebotomy school for you. And with the proper education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Atascadero CA.