How to Choose the Best Phlebotomy Tech Training Course near Alameda CA
Picking the right phlebotomy technician school near Alameda CA is an important initial step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting undertaking to investigate and compare all of the school options that are available to you. However it's important that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a superior education. In fact, a large number of prospective students start the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another factor you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby 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 should be part of your selection process too. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you choose the best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomist Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their principal function, there is in fact much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork has to be correctly filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory screening procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Alameda CA labs and are in charge of making sure that samples are analyzed properly using the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they might be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The simplest response is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are many and diverse, such as Alameda CA hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be charged 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 blood from a particular type of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to complete and furnishes a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. 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 community and junior colleges, they normally take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program furnish a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, many Alameda CA employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. A few of the principal 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, such as California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a superior education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Colleges
To start with, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant component of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical part of the training may be attended online, it might be a more practical option for some Alameda CA students. As an added benefit, some online classes are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some costs, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy school you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the ideal option for you.
Should You Go to School to Become a Phlebotomy Tech?Right out of the gate, not many 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 of course anyone who chooses this profession must be comfortable with blood and needles. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Alameda CA medical environments, well this profession probably is not right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Techs often work around nervous people who hate needles or having their blood taken. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you may 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 may be the perfect job for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Since you now have a basic 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 certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is significant if you will be commuting from Alameda CA in addition to the tuition expense. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy school. All of these decisions are an important part 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 schools you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to California? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you select should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school 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 colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of any colleges you are looking at. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. 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 recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the California school licensing authority and find out if any grievances 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 amount of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with local health care facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on practical training often not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Alameda CA healthcare community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Getting your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Alameda CA medical community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's important to verify that the final college you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is particularly true if you decide to still work while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Alameda CA, make certain they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option as well. 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 find out what the make-up protocol is should you need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training near Alameda California
Making certain that you choose the right phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomy training programs can be offered in a number of educational institutions, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive assortment of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings may vary a bit from state to state as each state has its own criteria when it pertains to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must diligently research and compare each program before making your final decision. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the best phlebotomy program for you. And with the appropriate education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Alameda CA.