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Become a Phlebotomist in Brentwood California

How to Select the Right Phlebotomy Tech School near Brentwood CA

Brentwood CA phlebotomist drawing blood from patientChoosing the right phlebotomy training near Brentwood CA is an essential initial step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging task to assess and compare each of the school alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's important that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a superior education. In fact, many potential students start the process by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll review a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and should be part of your decision process as well. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select 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 schools.

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Phlebotomist Work Description

Brentwood CA phlebotomist lab technicianA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their principal responsibility, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the instruments being utilized are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork must be correctly completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Brentwood CA labs and are responsible for making sure that samples are analyzed properly using the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they may be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.

Where do Phlebotomists Work?

The simplest answer is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are many and diverse, 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 toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a specific type of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be collecting blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients every day.

Phlebotomy Training, Licensing and Certification

blood testing performed in Brentwood CA laboratoryThere are basically two types of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to finish and provides a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they typically take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program furnish a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. While not mandated in most states, a number of Brentwood CA employers require certification before employing technicians. Some 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 several states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a premium education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.

Online Phlebotomist Schools

Brentwood CA student attending phlebotomy school onlineTo begin with, let's resolve one possible misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant portion of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical portion of the training may be attended online, it can be a more convenient alternative for many Brentwood CA students. As an additional benefit, some online programs are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist program you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a premium education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the ideal choice for you.

Should You Choose a Career as a Plebotomist?

Right out of the gate, not many people probably know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have already discussed, the short definition 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 nervous in hospitals or other Brentwood CA medical environments, well this job probably is not the best choice for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomists often work with anxious people who hate needles or having their blood drawn. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably be expected to work weekends, nights and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the blood and needles, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the perfect job for you.

Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Schools

Questions to ask Brentwood CA phlebotomy schoolsSince you now have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is significant if you will be commuting from Brentwood CA in addition to the cost of tuition. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist college. All of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are reviewing prior to making your final selection.

Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that meets 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 Program Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you select should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance of a superior education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the Brentwood CA job market.

What is the College's Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. You can begin 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 rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even talk to some Brentwood CA clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing 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 Enough 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 classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.

Are Internships Sponsored? Find out from the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with area medical facilities. They are the ideal means to receive hands-on clinical training frequently not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Brentwood CA medical community. And they are a plus on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Support Provided? Getting your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Brentwood CA medical community.

Are Classes Available as Needed? Finally, it's crucial to verify that the ultimate program you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is particularly true if you decide to still work while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Brentwood CA, make sure 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 completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is should you need to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.

Pick the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Brentwood California

Making sure that you enroll in the right phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare field. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are found in a wide range of educational institutes, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings can vary a bit from state to state as each state has its own criteria when it pertains to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to carefully evaluate and compare each college before making your ultimate choice. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the best phlebotomist program for you. And with the appropriate training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Brentwood CA.