How to Find the Right Phlebotomy Technician Training Program near Alameda CA
Choosing the ideal phlebotomy training near Alameda CA is an essential initial step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting undertaking to evaluate and compare each of the training alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's important that you do your due diligence to make sure that you receive a quality education. In reality, most potential students begin the process by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional option you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll review more about online classes later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and should be part of your selection process as well. Toward that end, we will furnish 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 address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online schools.
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Phlebotomist Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their principal responsibility, there is actually so much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the instruments being utilized are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork has to be accurately completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Alameda CA labs and are in charge of making sure that samples are tested correctly utilizing the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they might be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The most basic answer is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are numerous and varied, including Alameda CA hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a particular kind 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 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 drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients every day.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to finish and offers a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available 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 become certified. While not required in most states, most Alameda CA employers look for certification before employing technicians. Some 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 a few states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, including California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's important that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a superior education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Training
To begin with, let's resolve one possible misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant portion 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 completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical component of the training can be attended online, it can be a more convenient alternative for many Alameda CA students. As an additional benefit, many online classes are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenditures, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy college you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a superior education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online might be the right choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Since you now have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already decided on the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is significant if you will be commuting from Alameda CA in addition to the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy school. All of these decisions are a critical component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are considering prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed before working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you pick should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a superior education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are typically not available for non-accredited schools. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the Alameda CA job market.
What is the College'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 caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also contact some Alameda CA clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and find out if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the California school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Ample Training Included? 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 classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with regional health care facilities. They are the optimal way to receive hands-on clinical training often not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Alameda CA healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Finding your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Alameda CA healthcare community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's important to verify that the final school you pick offers classes at times that are compatible with your hectic lifestyle. This is especially important if you decide to still work while going to college. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Alameda CA, make sure 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 protocol is should you have to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Alameda California
Making sure that you pick the most suitable phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomy training programs can be offered in a number of academic institutions, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program options may differ slightly across the country as every state has its own prerequisites when it comes to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must diligently research and compare each school before making your ultimate choice. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the ideal phlebotomist college for you. And with the proper training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Alameda CA.