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Become a Phlebotomist in Alameda California

How to Find the Best Phlebotomy Technician Training Classes near Alameda CA

Alameda CA phlebotomy tech drawing bloodChoosing the right phlebotomy technician school near Alameda CA is a critical initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting undertaking to investigate and compare all of the school options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you do your due diligence to make certain that you get a quality education. In fact, most potential students begin the process by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional option you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online classes later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and must be part of your selection process also. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you choose the best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online training.

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Phlebotomy Tech Work Description

Alameda CA phlebotomy lab techA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their primary responsibility, there is in fact far more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the instruments being used are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample needs to be properly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork has to be accurately completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab screening procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Alameda CA laboratories and are in charge of making sure that samples are analyzed properly using the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they may be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.

Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?

The most basic response is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are numerous and diverse, such as Alameda CA medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a particular kind of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients each day.

Phlebotomy Training, Licensing and Certification

blood testing performed in Alameda CA laboratoryThere are essentially 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to finish and furnishes a basic 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 incorporate training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they typically require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, a number of Alameda CA employers require certification prior to employing technicians. A few of the main certifying agencies 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 in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, including California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a superior education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.

Online Phlebotomist Classes

Alameda CA student attending phlebotomy school onlineFirst, let's resolve one possible mistaken belief. 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 approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical component of the training can be attended online, it can be a more convenient alternative for many Alameda CA students. As an additional benefit, some online classes are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some expenses, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy college you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (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 obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the right option for you.

Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges

Now that you have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is relevant if you will be commuting from Alameda CA as well as the cost of tuition. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online college. Each of these decisions are an important part of the process for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate selection.

Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for all examinations you may have to take.

Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you choose should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future employers in the Alameda CA job market.

What is the School's Reputation? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of all schools you are reviewing. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even talk to a few Alameda CA clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the California school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.

Is Enough Training Included? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.

Are Internships Sponsored? Ask the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with area health care facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on clinical training frequently not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Alameda CA health care community. And they look good on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Help Offered? Getting your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Alameda CA healthcare community.

Are Classes Available as Needed? Finally, it's crucial to make sure that the final program you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while attending college. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Alameda CA, check that they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option also. And if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is in case you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.

Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Alameda California

Alameda CA phlebotomy laboratory blood testingMaking certain that you pick the right 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 quality college. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are offered in a number of educational institutes, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive array of programs in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings may vary somewhat from state to state as each state has its own requirements when it concerns phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must carefully research and compare each college prior to making your final selection. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomist college for you. And with the appropriate education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Alameda CA.