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Become a Phlebotomist in Alameda California

How to Select the Right Phlebotomy Tech Training Course near Alameda CA

Alameda CA phlebotomy tech drawing blood from patientChoosing the ideal phlebotomy school near Alameda CA is an important initial step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting task 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 sure that you obtain a superior education. In reality, most prospective students begin their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional option you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll discuss more about online schools later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and should 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 pick the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online classes.

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Phlebotomist Work Description

Alameda CA phlebotomist lab technicianA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary function, there is actually far more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the tools being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork has to be correctly filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab screening process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Alameda CA laboratories and are accountable for making certain that samples are tested correctly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they might be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.

Where do Phlebotomists Work?

The easiest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are many and varied, such as Alameda CA hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be charged to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a specific type of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be drawing blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients on a daily basis.

Phlebotomy Technician Training, Licensing and Certification

blood analysis performed in Alameda CA labThere are essentially 2 types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to complete and provides a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they typically require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program furnish a more extensive background in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, many Alameda CA employers require certification prior to employing technicians. A few 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 a few states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, including Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a premium education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.

Phlebotomist Online Classes

Alameda California woman attending phlebotomy school onlineTo begin with, let's dispel one likely mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A good portion of the course of study will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical part of the training may be attended online, it may be a more practical alternative for many Alameda CA students. As an added benefit, a number of online programs are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomist program you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a quality education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the right choice for you.

What to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges

Now that you have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is significant if you will be commuting from Alameda CA in addition to the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist program. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you should ask about each of the colleges you are reviewing before making your final selection.

Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to California? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations 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 practical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomist program that fulfills 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 College Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you choose should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited school in addition to a guarantee of a superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited programs. 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 College's Ranking? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of all schools you are reviewing. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even talk to several Alameda CA hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and see if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the California school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.

Is Enough Training Included? First, contact 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 phlebotomist program that you are considering should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide sufficient training.

Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out from the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with local healthcare facilities. They are the optimal way to get hands-on clinical training frequently not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Alameda CA healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Finding your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Alameda CA health care community.

Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's important to confirm that the ultimate school you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you opt to still work while attending school. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Alameda CA, make certain they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option also. Even if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is in case you need to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.

Enroll in the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Alameda California

Alameda CA phlebotomist laboratory blood testingMaking sure that you choose the right phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care field. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be available in a number of educational institutes, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive array of programs in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings may differ slightly from state to state as every state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must carefully screen and compare each program prior to making your final selection. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the ideal phlebotomist college for you. And with the proper education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Alameda CA.