How to Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Training Classes near Atascadero CA
Picking the ideal phlebotomist school near Atascadero CA is an essential initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging undertaking to analyze and compare all of the school options that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you do your due diligence to make certain that you get a quality education. In reality, many potential students begin their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another option you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll review more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and must be part of your decision process too. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing 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 conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomist Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their primary responsibility, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the tools being employed are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork must be properly 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 can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Atascadero CA labs and are responsible for making certain that samples are tested properly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they might be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The most basic response is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are numerous and varied, including Atascadero CA hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a certain type of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients every day.
Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to finish and furnishes a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they typically take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more extensive background 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 require 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 several states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, including Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a premium education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Schools
To start with, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant part of the course of study will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical part of the training may be accessed online, it could be a more practical option for many Atascadero CA students. As an additional benefit, a number of online colleges are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenditures, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy program you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a superior education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Now that you have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already selected the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is important if you will be commuting from Atascadero CA as well as the cost of tuition. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online college. All of these decisions are a critical component of the process for picking a phlebotomy program or school. 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 colleges you are considering prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to California? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomist program that complies with 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 Program Accredited? The phlebotomy 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 advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a premium education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are typically not available for non-accredited programs. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Atascadero CA job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of all colleges you are considering. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even contact a few Atascadero CA hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the California school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in total 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 length of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with regional health care facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on practical training often not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Atascadero CA healthcare community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Finding your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Atascadero CA health care community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? Finally, it's critical to verify that the ultimate program you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is especially true if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Atascadero CA, check that they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option also. Even if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is should you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Atascadero California
Making sure that you select the right phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care field. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomist training programs are available in a variety of educational institutes, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive array of programs in medical care and health sciences. Program offerings may differ slightly from state to state as each state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must carefully screen and compare each program before making your ultimate choice. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the right phlebotomist college for you. And with the proper training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Atascadero CA.