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Become a Phlebotomist in Alameda California

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

Alameda CA phlebotomy tech drawing bloodPicking the right phlebotomy school near Alameda CA is a critical initial step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting undertaking to analyze and compare each of the school alternatives that are available to you. However it's important that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you get a quality education. In reality, a large number of students start the process by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll discuss more about online schools later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and should be part of your decision process as well. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you pick the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online schools.

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Phlebotomist Career Description

Alameda CA phlebotomy lab techA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their primary responsibility, there is actually much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the tools being used are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork must be properly filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory screening process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Alameda CA laboratories and are in charge of making sure that samples are analyzed properly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they may be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.

Where do Phlebotomists Practice?

The easiest answer is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, such as Alameda CA medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a certain type of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be drawing blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing 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 different patients on a daily basis.

Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification

blood analysis performed in Alameda CA laboratoryThere are primarily 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to finish and provides a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they usually require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program furnish a more expansive background in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. While not required in most states, many Alameda CA employers look for certification before hiring technicians. Some 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 call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, including Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a quality education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.

Online Phlebotomist Schools

Alameda California student attending phlebotomy classes onlineTo begin with, let's dispel one potential mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant portion of the curriculum will be practical 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 prior to graduation. However since the non-practical component of the training may be accessed online, it can be a more practical option for many Alameda CA students. As an added benefit, many online schools are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some costs, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy school you select is accredited by a regional or national 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 obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the right choice for you.

Should You Become a Phlebotomy Technician?

Right out of the gate, few people are likely to know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have already discussed, the short definition is a medical professional who draws blood from patients. So naturally anyone who selects this profession must be comfortable with blood and needles. 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 Technicians routinely work with nervous people who hate needles or having their blood drawn. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you will probably be required 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 interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the right profession for you.

Subjects to Ask Phlebotomist Programs

Questions 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 initiate your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is important if you will be commuting from Alameda CA in addition to the cost of tuition. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online college. All of these decisions are an important part of the process for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you should ask about each of the colleges you are reviewing before making your final selection.

Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed before working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomy program that satisfies 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 phlebotomy program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited school in addition to a guarantee of a quality education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Alameda CA job market.

What is the School's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of any schools 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 research online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also contact some Alameda CA clinics or hospitals that you may be interested 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 schools are in full compliance.

Is Adequate Training Provided? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish adequate training.

Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with local health care facilities. They are the optimal way to get hands-on clinical training often not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Alameda CA healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher 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 Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's critical to confirm that the ultimate program you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Alameda CA, make sure they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option as well. And if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is should you need to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.

Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Alameda California

Making sure that you choose the right phlebotomist 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 a number of factors that go into the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomist training programs are available in a number of educational institutes, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings may vary slightly across the country as every state has its own prerequisites when it comes to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to carefully research and compare each college prior to making your final choice. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomist school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Alameda CA.