How to Select the Best Phlebotomist Training Classes near Alameda CA
Selecting the right phlebotomist school near Alameda CA is an essential first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting undertaking to analyze and compare all of the school options that are available to you. However it's vital that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a quality education. In reality, a large number of students start the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Another option you may 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's important to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your decision process also. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you select the best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomist Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their primary function, there is actually much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork needs to 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 an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Alameda CA labs and are in charge of making sure that samples are analyzed properly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they can be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The easiest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are numerous and diverse, including Alameda CA medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be charged to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a particular type of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients every day.
Phlebotomy Training, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to complete and provides a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will include training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they normally take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program offer a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. Although not required in most states, a number of Alameda CA employers require certification prior to hiring 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 several states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, such as Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a quality education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Classes
To begin with, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A good portion of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical portion of the training may be attended online, it can be a more practical option for some Alameda CA students. As an additional benefit, some online classes are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some expenses, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy school 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 approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online might be the ideal choice for you.
Should You Train to Be a Phlebotomy Technician?First of all, few people are likely to know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have already discussed, the short definition is a health care professional who draws blood from patients. So naturally anyone who selects this profession must be OK around blood and needles. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Alameda CA medical facilities, well this job probably is not right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Techs often work with anxious people who hate needles or having their blood taken. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you will probably be expected to work weekends, evenings and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the needles and blood, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the right profession for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Since you now have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might 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 college is relevant if you will be commuting from Alameda CA in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online school. All of these decisions are an important component of the process for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for all examinations you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a superior education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Alameda CA job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of all schools you are considering. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also check with some Alameda CA clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest 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 find out if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at 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 comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Ask the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional healthcare facilities. They are the ideal means to obtain hands-on clinical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Alameda CA healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Finding your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Alameda CA health care community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to confirm that the final school you choose offers classes at times that are compatible with your active schedule. This is especially true if you choose to still work while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Alameda CA, make sure they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is should you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training near Alameda California
Making sure that you enroll in the right phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomy training programs are found in a variety of educational institutes, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide array of programs in medical care and health sciences. Program offerings may differ somewhat across the country as every state has its own requirements when it concerns phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must carefully evaluate and compare each school 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 select the ideal phlebotomist college for you. And with the proper training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Alameda CA.