How to Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Technician School near Atascadero CA
Choosing the ideal phlebotomist school near Atascadero CA is an important initial step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult undertaking to analyze and compare each of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you do your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a superior education. In fact, a large number of potential students start their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and should be part of your selection 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 evaluating to help you pick the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Tech Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their main task, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the tools being utilized are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork needs to be accurately filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Atascadero CA labs and are in charge of making certain that samples are tested properly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The simplest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are many and diverse, including Atascadero CA hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a particular type of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be collecting blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Training, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily two types of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to finish and furnishes a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program offer a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. Although not mandated in most states, many Atascadero CA employers look for certification prior to employing technicians. Some of the main 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, such as 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 offers a superior education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Certificates and Degrees
To begin with, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A good portion of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical part of the training can be accessed online, it may be a more practical option for many Atascadero CA students. As an additional benefit, many online schools are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered also. Just verify that the online phlebotomy 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 obtain a quality education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online might be the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Since you now have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already picked the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is relevant if you will be commuting from Atascadero CA in addition to the cost of tuition. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist college. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the process for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are reviewing prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and prepares you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you pick should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a premium education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Atascadero CA job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of all colleges you are considering. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even check with a few Atascadero CA hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the California school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Adequate Training Included? First, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at 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 indicate that the program is not expansive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with local medical facilities. They are the optimal way to obtain hands-on clinical training typically not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Atascadero CA healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Landing your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Atascadero CA healthcare community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's important to verify that the ultimate college you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is especially true if you opt to continue working while going to school. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Atascadero CA, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is should you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training near Atascadero California
Making certain that you select the most suitable phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care field. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be available in a variety of academic institutions, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings may differ slightly from state to state as every state has its own prerequisites when it pertains to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to carefully screen and compare each school prior to making your ultimate choice. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the best phlebotomy school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Atascadero CA.