How to Select the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Brentwood CA
Selecting the ideal phlebotomy training near Brentwood CA is an essential initial step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting undertaking to analyze and compare all of the training alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you get a quality education. In reality, many potential students start the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Another factor you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll review more about online schools later in this article. What you need 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 variables such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and must be part of your decision process also. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you select the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their main task, 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 used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork must be correctly filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening process. 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 infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Brentwood CA labs and are responsible for making certain that samples are tested correctly under the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they may be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The most basic response is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are many and diverse, such as Brentwood CA medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be charged to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a specific kind of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be drawing blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily 2 kinds of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to finish and provides a basic education along 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, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program provide a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to be 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 several states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, including California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a superior education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Colleges
To begin with, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial part of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical portion of the training can be accessed online, it may be a more practical alternative for many Brentwood CA students. As an added benefit, many online schools are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenditures, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy college you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a premium education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online might be the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Since you now have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already chosen 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 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. All of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you should ask about all of the colleges you are looking at before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed before working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you choose should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Brentwood CA job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to investigate the reputations of any colleges you are considering. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also talk to a few Brentwood CA clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and find out if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the California school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in total 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 length of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with area medical facilities. They are the optimal way to obtain hands-on clinical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Brentwood CA healthcare community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Getting your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Brentwood CA medical community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's important to confirm that the ultimate college you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to go to classes at night 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 as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is in case you have to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Brentwood California
Making sure that you select the right phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomy training programs are available in a variety of academic institutes, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Course options can differ a bit from state to state as every state has its own mandates when it comes to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must diligently screen and compare each school prior to making your final choice. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomy school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Brentwood CA.