How to Find the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Atascadero CA
Picking the right phlebotomy technician training near Atascadero CA is an essential first step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting undertaking to investigate and compare all of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's vital that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you get a superior education. In fact, many potential students begin 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 online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll discuss more about online schools later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and must be part of your selection process too. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you choose the best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomy Tech Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their main function, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the instruments being utilized are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork must be properly filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Atascadero CA labs and are responsible for making certain that samples are tested properly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they may be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The easiest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are many and varied, such as Atascadero CA hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a particular kind of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients every day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to finish and provides a general education together 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, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they typically take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program offer a more extensive background in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. Although not required in the majority of states, most Atascadero CA employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. Some of the main certifying agencies include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are a few states that do require 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 choose a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a premium education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Certificates and Degrees
First, let's dispel one possible mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial component of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical part of the training can be attended online, it can be a more practical option for some Atascadero CA students. As an added benefit, many online programs are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist school you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). 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 obtaining your certificate or degree online might be the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Now that you have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already picked the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is relevant if you will be commuting from Atascadero CA as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online college. All of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. 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 practicing and preps you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a quality education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Finally, 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 School's Ranking? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of all colleges 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 screen internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even talk to a few Atascadero CA clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the California school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in total 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 clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internships Included? Ask the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with local healthcare facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on clinical training often not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Atascadero CA healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Getting your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Atascadero CA healthcare community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to confirm that the final school you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend 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, confirm 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 completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is in case you have to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training near Atascadero California
Making certain that you choose the most suitable phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying health care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be found in a wide range of academic institutes, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Course options may vary somewhat from state to state as each state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must diligently screen and compare each college before making your final choice. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the ideal phlebotomy school for you. And with the proper education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Atascadero CA.