How to Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Brentwood CA
Choosing the right phlebotomy school near Brentwood CA is an important initial step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging task to investigate and compare all of the school options that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you do your due diligence to make certain that you get a quality education. In fact, many prospective students start the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another factor you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and must be part of your decision 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 assessing to help you pick the best one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Tech Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their principal task, there is in fact far more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the instruments being used are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork needs to be accurately completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers 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. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Brentwood CA laboratories and are in charge of making sure that samples are tested properly under the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The easiest response is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are numerous and diverse, including Brentwood CA medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be charged to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a specific type 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 drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients each day.
Phlebotomist Training, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily two kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to complete and offers a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they normally take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program provide a more extensive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not required in most states, many Brentwood CA employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. A few of the key certifying organizations 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 phlebotomist, like California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a superior education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Schools
To begin with, let's dispel one possible mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant component of the course of study will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical component of the training may be attended online, it may be a more practical alternative for many Brentwood CA students. As an added benefit, many online classes are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenditures, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy program you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a superior education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online might be the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Since you now 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 decided on the kind 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 relevant if you will be commuting from Brentwood CA as well as the cost of tuition. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist college. All of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the colleges you are reviewing prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and preps you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you select should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to a guarantee of a premium education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for 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 unavailable for non-accredited programs. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Brentwood CA job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of any schools you are considering. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also talk to several Brentwood CA hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and see if they can offer any insights. As a closing thought, you can check with the California school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Enough Training Included? To begin with, contact 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 phlebotomy program that you are considering should provide at least 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 expansive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with area medical facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on clinical training frequently not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Brentwood CA healthcare community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Brentwood CA health care community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? And last, it's important to confirm that the final college you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your hectic lifestyle. This is especially important if you opt to still work while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Brentwood CA, make sure they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is in case you need to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Choose the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Brentwood California
Making sure that you select the most suitable phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying health care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomist training programs can be available in a variety of academic institutes, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options can differ a bit across the country as every state has its own requirements when it pertains to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to thoroughly evaluate and compare each program before making your ultimate choice. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the best phlebotomy school for you. And with the appropriate education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Brentwood CA.