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Become a Phlebotomist in Alameda California

How to Find the Best Phlebotomist School near Alameda CA

Alameda CA phlebotomist drawing bloodEnrolling in the ideal phlebotomist school near Alameda CA is an essential first step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging task to assess and compare each of the training options that are available to you. However it's vital that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a quality education. In fact, most prospective students start their search by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another factor you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll talk a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and should be part of your selection 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 reviewing to help you pick the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online classes.

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Phlebotomist Work Summary

Alameda CA phlebotomy lab technicianA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their main responsibility, there is actually so much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the instruments being utilized are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork must be correctly filled out to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab screening procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be tested 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 certain that samples are analyzed properly under the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they might be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.

Where do Phlebotomists Practice?

The quickest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are many and varied, including Alameda CA hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be charged to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a specific kind of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients on a daily basis.

Phlebotomy Technician Training, Licensing and Certification

blood testing performed in Alameda CA laboratoryThere are primarily two types of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to complete and provides a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program furnish a more expansive background in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will probably want to get certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, many Alameda CA employers require certification before hiring technicians. Some of the primary 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 phlebotomy tech, like Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a premium education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.

Online Phlebotomy Schools

Alameda California woman attending phlebotomy school onlineTo begin with, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A good component of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical portion of the training may be attended online, it might be a more practical option for some Alameda CA students. As an additional benefit, many online schools are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenses, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy college you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a superior education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online might be the best choice for you.

Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Schools

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 may have already selected the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is important if you will be commuting from Alameda CA in addition to the cost of tuition. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. All of these decisions are a critical component of the process for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are looking at before making your ultimate decision.

Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and preps you for any examinations you may have to take.

Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you choose should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a premium education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to future employers in the Alameda CA job market.

What is the College's Ranking? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of all schools you are considering. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations 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 find out if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the California school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.

Is Sufficient Training Provided? First, contact 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. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to provide adequate training.

Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional medical facilities. They are the optimal way to receive hands-on clinical training often not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Alameda CA health care community. And they look good on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Support Available? Landing your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Alameda CA health care community.

Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to make sure that the ultimate program you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is especially true if you choose to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to 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, 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 ask what the make-up procedure is in case you need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.

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Pick the Right Phlebotomist Training near Alameda California

Making certain that you enroll in the right phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomy training programs are offered in a number of educational institutes, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive assortment of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course options can differ somewhat across the country as every state has its own prerequisites when it concerns phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to diligently evaluate and compare each college before making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the best phlebotomy program for you. And with the appropriate education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Alameda CA.