How to Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Alameda CA
Choosing the ideal phlebotomy training near Alameda CA is a critical first step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult task to evaluate and compare all of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's important that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a superior education. In reality, most students begin their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Another option you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll review more about online classes later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and must be part of your decision process too. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you select the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomist Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their principal function, there is actually so much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the instruments being utilized are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork has to be properly filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab screening procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Alameda CA labs and are in charge of ensuring that samples are tested properly using the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they might be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The easiest response is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are numerous and varied, including Alameda CA hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, 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 drawing blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients every day.
Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification
There are basically two kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to finish and provides a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will include training to become a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they usually take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program provide a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, a number of 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 several states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, including Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a premium education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Certificates and Degrees
To begin with, let's resolve one possible misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A good part of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical 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 on-campus counterparts. And some expenses, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist college you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a superior education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the right choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Since you now have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already selected the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is relevant if you will be commuting from Alameda CA in addition to the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online school. All of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a recognized 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 school aside from an assurance of a premium education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future 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 quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of any schools you are looking at. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even check with a few Alameda CA hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and find out if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the California school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Adequate Training Provided? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out from the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with regional healthcare facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on clinical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Alameda CA health care community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Alameda CA health care community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's critical to verify that the final school you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you decide to still work while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Alameda CA, check that they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option also. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is in case you need to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Alameda California
Making certain that you choose the ideal phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomy training programs are offered in a variety of educational institutions, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive range of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Course offerings may vary slightly across the country as each state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to diligently research and compare each school before making your ultimate decision. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the ideal phlebotomist program for you. And with the appropriate education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Alameda CA.