How to Pick the Right Phlebotomist Training Classes near Alameda CA
Picking the ideal phlebotomy technician school near Alameda CA is an important initial step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult task to investigate and compare each of the school options that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's important that you do your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a superior education. In fact, most students start the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another factor you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll talk more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is much 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 must be part of your selection process as well. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you pick 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 schools.
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Phlebotomist Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their main duty, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the tools being utilized are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample needs to be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork must be properly completed in order to track the sample from the time 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 pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Alameda CA labs and are responsible for ensuring that samples are tested correctly utilizing the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they might be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The quickest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are many and varied, including Alameda CA hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a specific type of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Education, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to complete and provides a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program provide a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. Although not required in most states, many Alameda CA employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. A few of the key 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 in order to practice as a phlebotomist, like Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's important that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a quality education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Classes
To begin with, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial part of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical part of the training may be attended online, it can be a more practical alternative for many Alameda CA students. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist college you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive 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 attaining your certificate or degree online may be the best choice for you.
Should You Train to Be a Plebotomist?Right out of the gate, few people are likely to know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have already discussed, the basic answer is a health care professional whose job is to draw blood. So naturally anyone who selects this profession must be comfortable with needles and blood. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Alameda CA medical facilities, well this profession probably is not the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Techs often work with anxious people who hate needles or having their blood taken. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, 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 helping people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the right job for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Now that you have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already selected the type 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 significant if you will be commuting from Alameda CA as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. All of these decisions are a critical part of the process for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you should ask about all of the colleges you are looking at prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting agency, such as 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 quality education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school 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 phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. 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 reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also talk to some Alameda CA hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and see if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the California school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? First, contact 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. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internships Provided? Find out from the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with area medical facilities. They are the ideal means to receive hands-on practical training often not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Alameda CA health care community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Finding your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Alameda CA medical community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to confirm that the ultimate college you choose offers classes at times that are compatible with your hectic lifestyle. This is particularly important if you opt to still work while going to school. If you can only 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 part-time, confirm it is an option also. And if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is should you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Choose the Best Phlebotomy Training near Alameda California
Making sure that you select the right phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be offered in a variety of academic institutions, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive assortment of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings may vary slightly from state to state as every state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must diligently evaluate and compare each school before making your final decision. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the right phlebotomy school for you. And with the appropriate education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Alameda CA.