How to Find the Best Phlebotomy Technician Training Course near Atascadero CA
Selecting the ideal phlebotomy training near Atascadero CA is an important first step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging undertaking to investigate and compare all of the school options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you get a quality education. In fact, a large number of prospective students begin the process by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll talk a bit more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and need to 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 select the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their primary function, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the tools being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork needs to be properly completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. 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 actually work in Atascadero CA laboratories and are accountable for making sure that samples are tested correctly using the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they might be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The easiest response is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are many and varied, such as Atascadero CA medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, 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 practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients each day.
Phlebotomist Education, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially two kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to finish and provides a general education along 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 to become a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program furnish a more expansive background in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. Although not required in the majority of states, most Atascadero CA employers look for certification before employing technicians. A few 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 some states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, including California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a premium education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Certificates and Degrees
To start with, let's dispel one potential misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial portion of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. 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 alternative for some Atascadero CA students. As an additional benefit, a number of online classes are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist program you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a premium education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the best choice for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Since you now have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already selected the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is significant if you will be commuting from Atascadero CA in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy school. Each of these decisions are an important component of the process for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and prepares you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a highly regarded 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 aside from an assurance of a quality education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are often 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 Program's Ranking? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of all colleges you are considering. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also talk to a few Atascadero CA hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and find out if they can offer any recommendations. 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 full compliance.
Is Ample Training Provided? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount 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 (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internships Provided? Find out from the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with local health care facilities. They are the ideal means to receive hands-on practical training often not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Atascadero CA health care community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Landing your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are reviewing offer 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 college has both a good reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Atascadero CA medical community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's important to confirm that the ultimate school you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic lifestyle. This is especially important if you choose to still work while going to college. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Atascadero CA, make sure they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option as well. And if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is in case you need to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Choose the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Atascadero California
Making sure that you choose the most suitable phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomist training programs can be offered in a variety of educational institutes, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide assortment of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings may differ somewhat from state to state as every state has its own requirements when it comes to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to diligently evaluate and compare each college prior to making your ultimate choice. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomist school for you. And with the proper education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Atascadero CA.