How to Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Technician Training Program near Brentwood CA
Selecting the right phlebotomy training near Brentwood CA is an essential initial step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting undertaking to investigate and compare each of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you get a superior education. In reality, a large number of prospective students start the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Another factor you might consider is whether to attend classes online 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 much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and must be part of your selection process also. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you should 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 cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomist Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their principal responsibility, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the tools being utilized are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be properly filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab screening procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Brentwood CA labs and are in charge of ensuring that samples are tested correctly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they might be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The most basic response is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are numerous and diverse, including Brentwood CA medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a certain type of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be collecting blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily two types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to complete and provides a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they usually require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program furnish a more expansive background in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not required 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 a few states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, including California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a superior education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Certificates and Degrees
To begin with, let's dispel one likely mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial portion of the course of study will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical portion of the training can be accessed online, it can be a more practical alternative for some Brentwood CA students. As an added benefit, some online programs are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenses, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist program you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a quality education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online might be the best choice for you.
Should You Choose a Career as a Phlebotomy Technician?Right out of the gate, few people probably know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have already discussed, the basic definition is a health care professional whose job is to draw blood. So of course anyone who selects this profession must be OK around blood and needles. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Brentwood CA medical facilities, well this profession may not be the best choice for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomists tend to work around anxious people who hate needles or having their blood drawn. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you may be expected to work weekends, evenings and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the needles and blood, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the right job for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist 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 might have already chosen the kind of program you wish 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. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online college. All of these decisions are a critical part of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you choose should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a quality education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Brentwood CA job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of any 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 assistance program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also talk to some Brentwood CA clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and ask 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 Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be working to find out 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 provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Ask the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with area health care facilities. They are the optimal way to obtain hands-on practical training often not provided 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 Offered? Landing your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Brentwood CA health care community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? And last, it's critical to make sure that the final college you choose offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is especially true if you decide to still work while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evenings 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 as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training near Brentwood California
Making certain that you choose the ideal phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare field. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be found in a number of academic institutions, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive assortment of programs in medical care and health sciences. Course options can vary slightly from state to state as each state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to diligently screen and compare each program prior to making your ultimate selection. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Brentwood CA.