How to Choose the Right Phlebotomy School near Brentwood CA
Choosing the ideal phlebotomist training near Brentwood CA is an important first step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting undertaking to evaluate and compare each of the school alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you do your due diligence to make sure that you receive a quality education. In reality, a large number of potential students start their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another option you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll talk more about online schools later in this article. What's important 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 must be part of your decision process as well. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you pick the best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online schools.
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Phlebotomist Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their primary duty, there is actually far more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the tools being employed are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork needs to be correctly filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may 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 ensuring that samples are tested correctly under the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be required to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The simplest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are numerous and diverse, such as Brentwood CA medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a particular kind of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to complete and furnishes a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program provide a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. Although not required in most states, most Brentwood CA employers require certification before hiring technicians. Some of the primary 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, including Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a premium education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Training
To start with, let's resolve one possible misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial component of the curriculum will be practical 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 prior to graduation. However since the non-practical component of the training can be attended online, it may be a more practical option for some Brentwood CA students. As an added benefit, a number of online schools are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some costs, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy school you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online might be the right choice for you.
Should You Choose a Career as a Phlebotomy Tech?Right out of the gate, not many people are likely to know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have previously discussed, the basic answer is a medical professional whose job is to draw blood. So naturally anyone who chooses this profession must be OK around needles and blood. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Brentwood CA medical environments, well this job probably is not right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomists routinely work around nervous people who don’t like needles or having their blood taken. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably be required to work weekends, evenings and even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the needles and blood, and if you enjoy helping people and are patient and compassionate, this could be the perfect job for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Since you now have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is important if you will be commuting from Brentwood CA as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online college. Each of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Following are a few questions that you should ask about each of the colleges you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to California? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and readies you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a quality education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Brentwood CA job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even check with several Brentwood CA hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and see if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the California school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Adequate Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with regional health care facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on clinical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Brentwood CA health care community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Landing your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Brentwood CA healthcare community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's crucial to verify that the final program you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your hectic lifestyle. This is especially true if you opt to still work while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Brentwood CA, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option as well. And if you have decided to study 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 Brentwood California
Making sure that you select the ideal phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomist training programs can be available in a variety of educational institutions, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings may differ somewhat across the country as every state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to carefully screen and compare each school before making your final choice. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the right phlebotomy school for you. And with the proper education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Brentwood CA.