How to Select the Best Phlebotomist School near Alameda CA
Selecting the ideal phlebotomy training near Alameda CA is a critical first step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting undertaking to analyze and compare all of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's important that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you receive a quality education. In fact, most prospective students begin their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional factor you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll talk more about online schools later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is far 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 must be part of your decision process also. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you pick the best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary function, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the instruments being utilized are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork must be properly filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Alameda CA labs and are in charge of ensuring that samples are analyzed correctly using the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The simplest response is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are many and varied, such as Alameda CA medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be charged to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a specific type of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be drawing blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to finish and offers a basic education as well as 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 specifically a phlebotomist degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they typically take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program offer a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. While not mandated in most states, most Alameda CA employers require certification prior to employing technicians. A few of the main certifying organizations 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, including California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's important that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a quality education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Certificates and Degrees
First, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant portion of the curriculum will be clinical 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-clinical portion of the training may be attended online, it might be a more convenient option for many Alameda CA students. As an additional benefit, many online colleges are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some expenses, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomy program you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a premium education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online may be the right choice for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Now that you have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is important if you will be commuting from Alameda CA in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy school. All of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Following are several questions that you need to ask about all of the colleges you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to California? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and prepares you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you select should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a quality education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Alameda CA job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of any colleges you are considering. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even contact several Alameda CA clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and find out if they can offer any insights. As a closing thought, you can check with the California school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? 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. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional medical facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on clinical training often not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Alameda CA healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? 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 looking at offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Alameda CA healthcare community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to make sure that the final school you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is particularly important if you decide to still work while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Alameda CA, make sure they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option also. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Alameda California
Making certain that you pick the right phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying health care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomist training programs are available in a wide range of educational institutions, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course options may differ slightly across the country as each state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must thoroughly evaluate and compare each program before making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the best phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Alameda CA.