How to Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Technician Training Program near Brentwood CA
Enrolling in the right phlebotomist school near Brentwood CA is a critical initial step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging task to evaluate and compare each of the school options that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you get a superior education. In reality, many students begin their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Another option you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll discuss more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and should be part of your decision process also. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you pick the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomist Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their primary duty, there is in fact far more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork needs to be accurately completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers 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. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Brentwood CA laboratories and are responsible for making certain that samples are analyzed correctly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they might be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The most basic response is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are numerous and diverse, such as Brentwood CA hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a certain type of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients every day.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to complete and provides a general education together with 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, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they normally require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program furnish a more extensive background in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not required in most states, a number of Brentwood CA employers look for certification prior to employing technicians. Some 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 several states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, including Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a premium education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Classes
First, let's dispel one potential misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant component of the curriculum 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. But since the non-clinical part of the training can be accessed online, it can be a more convenient alternative for some Brentwood CA students. As an added benefit, many online colleges are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomy school you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the right choice for you.
Should You Become a Phlebotomy Tech?Right out of the gate, not many people are likely to know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have already discussed, the short answer is a health care professional who draws blood from patients. So naturally anyone who decides to enter this profession must be OK around needles and blood. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Brentwood CA medical facilities, well this profession may not be right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomists tend to work around nervous people who hate needles or having a blood sample taken. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you may be expected to work weekends, evenings and even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the blood and needles, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the right job for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Since you now have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already picked the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is important 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 phlebotomy school. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the process for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are reviewing before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to California? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very 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 have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you select should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a quality education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are typically not available for non-accredited colleges. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Brentwood CA job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of all schools you are considering. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also check with some Brentwood CA clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide 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 colleges are in full compliance.
Is Adequate Training Provided? First, check with the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with regional medical facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on clinical training often not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Brentwood CA healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Getting your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Brentwood CA healthcare community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's critical to make sure that the ultimate school you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Brentwood CA, check that they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option also. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is should you need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Brentwood California
Making certain that you select the most suitable phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are offered in a variety of academic institutions, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive assortment of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings can differ a bit from state to state as every state has its own criteria when it pertains to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must thoroughly research and compare each college prior to making your final choice. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the best phlebotomy school for you. And with the proper training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Brentwood CA.