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Become a Phlebotomist in Brentwood California

How to Select the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Brentwood CA

Brentwood CA phlebotomy tech drawing bloodChoosing the right phlebotomy school near Brentwood CA is a critical first step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting undertaking to evaluate and compare each of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's vital that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a superior education. In fact, many potential students begin the process by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another factor you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss more about online schools later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and need to be part of your selection process as well. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you choose the right 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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Phlebotomist Career Description

Brentwood CA phlebotomy lab technicianA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main duty, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork needs to be properly filled out to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers 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. Many phlebotomists actually work in Brentwood CA laboratories and are responsible for ensuring that samples are tested correctly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.

Where do Phlebotomists Practice?

The most basic response is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are numerous and varied, such as Brentwood CA medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a certain type of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients each day.

Phlebotomy Technician Education, Certification and Licensing

blood testing performed in Brentwood CA laboratoryThere are essentially 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to complete and provides a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest route 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 phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they typically require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program provide a more extensive background in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. Although not required in most states, many Brentwood CA employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. A few of the key 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 phlebotomist, like Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a premium education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.

Online Phlebotomy Certificates and Degrees

Brentwood CA woman attending phlebotomy training onlineTo start with, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial component of the course of study will be practical training and it will be performed 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-practical portion of the training can be accessed online, it can be a more practical option for some Brentwood CA students. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy college 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 means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online may be the right option for you.

Should You Train to Be a Phlebotomy Tech?

Right out of the gate, few people probably know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have previously discussed, the short answer is a health care professional whose job is to draw blood. So of course anyone who decides to enter this profession must be comfortable with blood and needles. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Brentwood CA medical facilities, well this profession probably is not right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians often work with nervous people who don’t like needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you may be expected to work weekends, evenings and even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the blood and needles, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are patient and compassionate, this could be the right profession for you.

Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Programs

What to ask Brentwood CA phlebotomy schoolsNow that you have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is significant if you will be commuting from Brentwood CA in addition to the tuition expense. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. All of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you need to ask about all of the colleges you are reviewing before making your ultimate decision.

Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for all exams you may have to take.

Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you select should be accredited by a respected 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 aside from a guarantee of a quality education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the Brentwood CA job market.

What is the School's Reputation? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of any colleges you are looking at. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also talk to a few Brentwood CA hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and find out if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the California school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.

Is Ample Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomy 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 might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.

Are Internships Sponsored? Find out from the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with area healthcare facilities. They are the ideal means to receive hands-on practical training often not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Brentwood CA healthcare community. And they look good on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Brentwood CA health care community.

Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's important to verify that the final college you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while going to school. If you need to attend classes in the evenings 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. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is should you have to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.

Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Brentwood California

Making sure that you select the ideal phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare career position. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomist training programs are offered in a number of educational institutes, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive assortment of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings may differ somewhat across the country as each state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to thoroughly research and compare each college prior to making your final selection. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the ideal phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Brentwood CA.