How to Pick the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Brentwood CA
Enrolling in the right phlebotomist school near Brentwood CA is a critical first step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult task to assess and compare each of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a superior education. In fact, most prospective students start their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Another factor you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll discuss more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and need to be part of your decision process also. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you pick 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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Phlebotomy Technician Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their principal responsibility, there is in fact much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the instruments being used are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork must be accurately completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Brentwood CA labs and are accountable for ensuring that samples are tested correctly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they might be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The easiest answer is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are numerous and varied, including Brentwood CA medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a specific kind of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients every day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Licensing and Certification
There are basically two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to finish and provides a general education along 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 specifically a phlebotomy degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they normally require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program furnish a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, most Brentwood CA employers look for certification before employing technicians. A few of the primary certifying organizations 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 phlebotomist, including California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a superior education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Colleges
To start with, let's dispel one possible mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial part of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical component of the training can be attended online, it might be a more convenient option for some Brentwood CA students. As an added benefit, many online colleges are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenditures, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist school you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the best option for you.
Should You Train to Be a Phlebotomy Tech?First of all, few people are likely to know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have previously discussed, the basic definition is a health care professional whose job is to draw blood. So naturally anyone who decides to enter this profession must be OK around blood and needles. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Brentwood CA medical environments, well this job probably is not the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomists tend to work with nervous people who hate needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you may be required to work weekends, evenings and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the blood and needles, and if you enjoy helping people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the perfect job for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Now that you 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 picked the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is significant if you will be commuting from Brentwood CA in addition to the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online college. Each of these decisions are an important component of the process for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are reviewing before 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 some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed before working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you select should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a superior education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Brentwood CA job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of any schools you are considering. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also contact some Brentwood CA clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and find out if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the California school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? First, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with regional medical facilities. They are the optimal way to obtain hands-on clinical training typically not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop contacts 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 assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Brentwood CA medical community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's important to make sure that the ultimate college you choose offers classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while going to school. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Brentwood CA, make sure they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option also. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled 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 ideal phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are found in a wide range of academic institutes, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive range of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options may vary somewhat across the country as every state has its own requirements when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must carefully research and compare each college prior to making your ultimate selection. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the right phlebotomist college for you. And with the proper training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Brentwood CA.