How to Choose the Best Phlebotomy Tech Training Classes near Alameda CA
Picking the right phlebotomy training near Alameda CA is an essential initial step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting undertaking to investigate and compare each of the school alternatives that are available to you. However it's important that you do your due diligence to make certain that you get a superior education. In reality, many students start the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional factor you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll talk a bit more about online classes later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and need to be part of your decision process too. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you select the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomy Tech Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary function, there is actually far more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the tools being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be properly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork needs to be correctly completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Alameda CA labs and are in charge of making sure that samples are tested properly under the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they may be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The simplest answer is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are numerous and varied, including Alameda CA hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a specific type of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients every day.
Phlebotomist Training, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to complete and furnishes a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program furnish a more extensive background in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. While not mandated in most states, a number of Alameda CA employers look for certification prior to employing technicians. Some of the principal 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, like Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a premium education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Classes
To begin with, let's resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial component of the course of study will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical component of the training may be accessed online, it might be a more practical alternative for many Alameda CA students. As an added benefit, many online colleges are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some costs, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy college you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a premium education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Now that you have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already selected the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is relevant if you will be commuting from Alameda CA as well as the cost of tuition. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy school. All of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are reviewing before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some 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 working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and readies you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a quality education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future employers in the Alameda CA job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of any schools you are looking at. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their students as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also talk to several Alameda CA clinics or hospitals that you might be interested 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 ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Adequate Training Provided? First, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Find out from the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional healthcare facilities. They are the optimal means to get hands-on practical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Alameda CA medical community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Alameda CA medical community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's critical to confirm that the ultimate program you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is particularly true if you decide to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Alameda CA, make sure they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is should you need to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Choose the Best Phlebotomy Training near Alameda California
Making certain that you enroll in the right phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be found in a variety of educational institutes, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings may differ somewhat from state to state as every state has its own mandates when it comes to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to diligently evaluate and compare each college before making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the right phlebotomy college for you. And with the proper training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Alameda CA.