How to Find the Best Phlebotomy School near Brentwood CA
Picking the ideal phlebotomy technician school near Brentwood CA is an essential initial step toward a gratifying 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. Nevertheless it's important that you do your due diligence to make sure that you get a quality education. In reality, most potential students begin the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss 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 locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and should be part of your selection process too. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you select the best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Tech Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main duty, there is in fact much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork needs to be properly completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab 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 control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they may be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The easiest response is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are many and varied, including Brentwood CA hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a certain kind 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 working 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 drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients every day.
Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification
There are basically 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to complete and offers a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they typically require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program provide a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. Although not required in the majority of states, most Brentwood CA employers look for certification prior to employing technicians. A few of the key 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, including California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a superior education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Schools
To begin with, let's dispel one possible mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant portion of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical portion of the training can be attended online, it can be a more practical alternative for many Brentwood CA students. As an additional benefit, some online colleges are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some costs, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy 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 disciplined enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the best choice for you.
Should You Go to School to Become a Phlebotomy Technician?First of all, not many people probably know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have previously discussed, the basic answer is a medical professional whose job is to draw blood. So of course anyone who chooses this profession must be able to handle blood and needles. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Brentwood CA medical environments, well this profession may not be right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomists routinely work with nervous people who don’t like needles or having their blood drawn. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably be expected 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 patient and compassionate, this could be the right profession for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Since you now have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is significant if you will be commuting from Brentwood CA in addition to the tuition expense. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist college. All of these decisions are an important part of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to select 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 exams you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you select should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a premium education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to future employers in the Brentwood CA job market.
What is the School'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 caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of all schools you are reviewing. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even check with several Brentwood CA hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and see if they can provide any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the California school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Enough Training Included? First, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with local health care facilities. They are the optimal way to obtain hands-on clinical training frequently not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Brentwood CA medical community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Landing your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Brentwood CA healthcare community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's critical to confirm that the final college you choose offers classes at times that are compatible with your active schedule. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while attending college. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Brentwood CA, make certain they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option also. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is should you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Choose the Right Phlebotomy Training near Brentwood California
Making sure that you enroll in the most suitable phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomist training programs can be offered in a variety of academic institutes, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive assortment of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings can vary a bit across the country as every state has its own requirements when it concerns phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to carefully research and compare each program prior to making your ultimate selection. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Brentwood CA.