How to Enroll in the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Alameda CA
Picking the right phlebotomy technician training near Alameda CA is a critical initial step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging undertaking to evaluate and compare all of the training options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you get a quality education. In reality, a large number of potential students begin their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your selection process also. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you choose the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomy Tech Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their principal duty, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be accurately filled out to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory screening procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Alameda CA labs and are responsible for making certain that samples are analyzed properly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they might be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The quickest answer is wherever there are patients. Their work places are many and diverse, such as Alameda CA hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a particular kind of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients each day.
Phlebotomist Education, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily 2 kinds of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to complete and offers a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program provide a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will probably want to get certified. While not mandated in most states, a number of Alameda CA employers require certification prior to employing technicians. Some of the principal 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, including Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a premium education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Classes
First, let's dispel one potential mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial part of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical component of the training can be attended online, it can be a more practical alternative for many Alameda CA students. As an added benefit, a number of online classes are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenditures, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist program you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a quality education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online might be the best choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Since you now have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already picked the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is important if you will be commuting from Alameda CA in addition to the cost of tuition. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist college. Each of these decisions are an important component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Following are several questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are typically not available for non-accredited programs. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Alameda CA job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of all colleges you are considering. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even contact a few Alameda CA hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and see if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the California school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Adequate Training Included? First, check with the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at 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 provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Find out from the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional healthcare facilities. They are the optimal means to get hands-on practical training often not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Alameda CA healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the schools 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 positions, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Alameda CA healthcare community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to make sure that the ultimate college you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Alameda CA, check that they are available 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 clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is in case you need to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Training near Alameda California
Making certain that you enroll in the ideal phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care field. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomy training programs can be offered in a number of academic institutions, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive array of programs in medical care and health sciences. Program options can differ somewhat from state to state as every state has its own prerequisites when it concerns phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must thoroughly research and compare each program prior to making your final selection. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Alameda CA.