How to Select the Right Phlebotomy Training Course near Alameda CA
Enrolling in the right phlebotomist school near Alameda CA is an essential initial step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging task to analyze and compare all of the school options that are available to you. However it's important that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a quality education. In reality, a large number of potential students start the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional option you might look into 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 keep in mind is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and should be part of your decision process as well. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you pick the best one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online schools.
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Phlebotomist Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their main duty, there is actually so much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be correctly filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab screening process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Alameda CA labs and are responsible for making certain that samples are analyzed correctly under the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they can be required to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The simplest response is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are many and diverse, such as Alameda CA medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, 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 exclusively be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially two kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to complete and offers a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest means 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 phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they usually require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program offer a more extensive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. Although not required in the majority of states, most Alameda CA employers look for certification before employing technicians. A few of the principal certifying agencies 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 phlebotomist, such as Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a superior education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Colleges
To begin with, let's dispel one potential misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant portion of the curriculum 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 prior to graduation. However since the non-practical portion of the training can be attended online, it can be a more convenient alternative for some Alameda CA students. As an added benefit, a number of online colleges are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenses, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy program you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the ideal option for you.
Should You Train to Be a Plebotomist?Right out of the gate, few people probably know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have previously discussed, the basic definition is a medical professional who draws blood from patients. So naturally anyone who decides to enter this profession must be comfortable with needles and blood. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Alameda CA medical facilities, well this job probably is not right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Techs routinely work around 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 expected to work weekends, nights and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the blood and needles, and if you enjoy helping people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the perfect job for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Now that you have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already selected the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is important if you will be commuting from Alameda CA as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online school. All of these decisions are a critical component of the process for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are looking at before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and readies you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you select should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to a guarantee of a superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are typically not available for non-accredited colleges. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Alameda CA job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of any colleges you are reviewing. 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 screen online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even contact some Alameda CA hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and see if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the California school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Adequate Training Provided? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out from the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with local medical facilities. They are the optimal way to receive hands-on clinical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Alameda CA health care community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Landing your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Alameda CA medical community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's critical to confirm that the final college you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is especially true if you choose to still work while attending college. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Alameda CA, make sure they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option also. Even if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is should you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Choose the Right Phlebotomy Training near Alameda California
Making certain that you choose the most suitable phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care field. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomist training programs are available in a variety of academic institutes, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide assortment of programs in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings can differ somewhat from state to state as every state has its own criteria when it concerns phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to carefully evaluate and compare each college before making your ultimate decision. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the ideal phlebotomist school for you. And with the proper education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Alameda CA.