How to Find the Right Phlebotomy School near Brentwood CA
Selecting the ideal phlebotomist school near Brentwood CA is a critical initial step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting task to investigate and compare each of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's vital that you do your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a quality education. In fact, many potential students begin the process by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another option you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll review more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and should be part of your decision process as well. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you choose the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their primary task, there is actually so much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork has to be accurately completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Brentwood CA laboratories and are in charge of making certain that samples are analyzed correctly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they might be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The quickest response is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, such as Brentwood CA medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a particular kind of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be collecting blood from elderly 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 on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Licensing and Certification
There are basically two types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to finish and offers 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 exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they usually require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program offer a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. Although not required in most states, many Brentwood CA employers require certification before employing 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 some states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, such as Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a premium education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Schools
First, let's dispel one likely mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial component of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical portion of the training can be accessed online, it may be a more practical option for some Brentwood CA students. As an added benefit, many online classes are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some costs, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy program you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online might be the best choice for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Since you now have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is significant if you will be commuting from Brentwood CA in addition to the tuition expense. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist school. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure 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 each of the schools you are reviewing prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to California? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and prepares you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you pick 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 school in addition to a guarantee of a superior education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Brentwood CA job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of any colleges you are reviewing. 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 reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even talk to some Brentwood CA hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and find out if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the California school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internships Included? Ask the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with regional health care facilities. They are the optimal way to get hands-on clinical training frequently not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Brentwood CA medical community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Finding your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Brentwood CA medical community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's important to confirm that the ultimate college you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Brentwood CA, make certain they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, 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 fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is in case you have to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Brentwood California
Making sure that you choose the most suitable phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are available in a number of academic institutions, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive assortment of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Course options may vary somewhat across the country as each state has its own criteria when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must diligently screen and compare each program prior to making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomy program for you. And with the appropriate education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Brentwood CA.