How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist School near Brentwood CA
Selecting the ideal phlebotomy technician school near Brentwood CA is an essential initial step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting task to analyze and compare each of the training alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you do your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a quality education. In fact, many potential students begin the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another factor you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll talk more about online schools later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and must be part of your selection process also. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you select the best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their principal task, there is in fact far more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork needs to be accurately filled out to be able 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 tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Brentwood CA labs and are responsible for making certain that samples are analyzed correctly under the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they might be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The easiest response is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are many and diverse, including Brentwood CA hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a certain type of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be collecting blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
There are basically two types of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to finish and furnishes a general education together with 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 phlebotomist degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they normally take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more expansive background in lab sciences. When 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 some states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a quality education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Colleges
To start with, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A good part of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical component of the training can be attended online, it could be a more practical alternative for many Brentwood CA students. As an added benefit, some online schools are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenses, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist school you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the right option for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Since you now have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is relevant if you will be commuting from Brentwood CA as well as the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy program. Each of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are 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 earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and preps you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting organization, such as 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. To begin with, 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 typically not available for non-accredited programs. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Brentwood CA job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check out the reputations of all colleges you are reviewing. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also check with some Brentwood CA hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and see if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the California school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Adequate Training Included? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should furnish 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 expansive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out from the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional healthcare facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on practical training often not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Brentwood CA health care community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Landing your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Brentwood CA health care community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's crucial to confirm that the final program you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic lifestyle. This is especially true if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Brentwood CA, check that they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm 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 completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is should you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist Training near Brentwood California
Making certain that you enroll in the most suitable phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are offered in a variety of academic institutions, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program options can differ a bit from state to state as each state has its own mandates when it comes to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must thoroughly evaluate and compare each program before making your final choice. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the right phlebotomy program for you. And with the appropriate training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Brentwood CA.