How to Pick the Right Phlebotomy Technician Training Classes near Alameda CA
Choosing the ideal phlebotomist training near Alameda CA is an important first step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult task to assess and compare all of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you get a superior education. In fact, a large number of prospective students begin the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Another option you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll review more about online schools later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and should be part of your decision 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 assessing to help you select the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomist Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their principal duty, there is actually much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the tools being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be accurately filled out to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory screening process. The phlebotomist then delivers 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 actually work in Alameda CA laboratories and are accountable for making sure that samples are tested correctly using the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they can be required to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The easiest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are many and varied, such as Alameda CA medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a specific kind of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients every day.
Phlebotomist Education, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily two kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to finish and offers a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they usually require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program furnish a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not mandated in most states, a number of Alameda CA employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. A few of the primary certifying agencies 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a quality education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Certificates and Degrees
First, let's resolve one likely mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial part of the course of study 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 completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical portion of the training may be attended online, it may be a more practical option for some Alameda CA students. As an additional benefit, many online classes are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some costs, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered also. Just verify that the online phlebotomist college you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the right choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Now that you have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the type of program you wish 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 as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online college. All of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are looking at before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance of a quality education. First, 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 organizations. Next, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future employers in the Alameda CA job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of any colleges you are reviewing. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also contact a few Alameda CA clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and find out if they can provide any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the California school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Enough Training Included? 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 phlebotomist program that you are looking at should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internships Provided? Find out from the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with local healthcare facilities. They are the optimal means to get hands-on clinical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Alameda CA medical community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Landing your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are looking at 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 college has both an excellent reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Alameda CA healthcare community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's important to confirm that the final program you choose offers classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Alameda CA, make sure they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option as well. And 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 policy is should you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist Training near Alameda California
Making certain that you choose the most suitable phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomist training programs are available in a number of educational institutions, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive range of programs in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings can differ a bit across the country as every state has its own requirements when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to thoroughly evaluate and compare each school prior to making your ultimate decision. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the best phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Alameda CA.