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Become a Phlebotomist in Alameda California

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

Alameda CA phlebotomy tech drawing bloodSelecting the ideal phlebotomy school near Alameda CA is a critical initial step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult undertaking to evaluate and compare all of the training options that are accessible to you. However it's important that you do your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a quality education. In fact, a large number of potential students start their search 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 classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll discuss more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your selection process as well. 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 ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online schools.

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Phlebotomist Work Summary

Alameda CA phlebotomist laboratory techA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their primary task, there is actually far more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork has to be properly completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Alameda CA laboratories and are in charge of making sure that samples are tested correctly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they might be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.

Where do Phlebotomists Practice?

The simplest response is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are numerous and diverse, such as Alameda CA medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a specific type of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients each day.

Phlebotomy Training, Certification and Licensing

blood testing done in Alameda CA labThere are essentially 2 kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to complete and furnishes a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they typically require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program provide a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. Although not required in the majority of states, a number of Alameda CA employers require certification before employing technicians. Some of the key certifying organizations 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, like California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a premium education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.

Online Phlebotomy Classes

Alameda CA student attending phlebotomy classes onlineFirst, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A good component of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical component of the training can be accessed online, it can be a more practical option for many Alameda CA students. As an added benefit, many online programs are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomist school you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a premium education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the best choice for you.

Should You Become a Phlebotomy Tech?

First of all, 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 who draws blood from patients. So of course anyone who chooses this profession must be able to handle needles and blood. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Alameda CA medical environments, well this profession may not be the best choice for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomists tend to work with anxious people who don’t like needles or having a blood sample taken. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably be required to work weekends, nights and even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the blood and needles, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the perfect job for you.

Points to Ask Phlebotomy Schools

What to ask Alameda CA phlebotomy schoolsSince 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 picked the kind 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 significant if you will be commuting from Alameda CA in addition to the tuition expense. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist college. All of these decisions are an important component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision.

Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and preps you for any examinations you may be required to take.

Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you pick should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a quality education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are typically not available for non-accredited schools. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future employers in the Alameda CA job market.

What is the School's Ranking? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of all schools you are looking at. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their students as part of their job assistance program. You can screen internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even check with several Alameda CA hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and see if they can provide any insights. 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 Enough Training Provided? First, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to offer sufficient training.

Are Internships Sponsored? Ask the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with area healthcare facilities. They are the ideal means to receive hands-on practical training often not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Alameda CA medical community. And they look good on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Support Provided? Finding your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement percentage 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 a good reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Alameda CA medical community.

Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's important to make sure that the ultimate program you choose offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Alameda CA, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option also. And if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain 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 illness or emergencies.

Choose the Best Phlebotomist Training near Alameda California

Making certain that you select the most suitable phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are found in a number of academic institutes, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide array of programs in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings may vary somewhat from state to state as every state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must thoroughly research and compare each school prior to making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomy program for you. And with the proper training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Alameda CA.