How to Find the Best Phlebotomy Tech School near Alameda CA
Selecting the right phlebotomy training near Alameda CA is an important initial step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging undertaking to analyze and compare each of the training alternatives that are available to you. However it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you receive a quality education. In reality, many prospective students start the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another option you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss more about online schools later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is a lot 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 must be part of your decision process also. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Tech Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their main responsibility, there is actually much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the tools being employed are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork must be correctly filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing process. 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 pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Alameda CA labs and are responsible for making certain that samples are analyzed properly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they might be asked to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The quickest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are numerous and varied, such as Alameda CA hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be charged to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a particular type of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially 2 kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to finish and provides a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program furnish a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. After 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 look for certification before hiring technicians. A few 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 several states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, such as California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a premium education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Colleges
First, let's resolve one possible misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant component of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical portion of the training can be accessed online, it may be a more convenient alternative for some Alameda CA students. As an additional benefit, many online schools are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenditures, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist program you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a quality education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the ideal choice for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Now that you have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the kind of program you wish 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 as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist school. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the process for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and readies you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you select should be accredited by a reputable 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 in addition to a guarantee of a quality education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the Alameda CA job market.
What is the College's Reputation? 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 along with accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of any colleges you are considering. 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 internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also contact some Alameda CA hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and find out if they can provide any recommendations. 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 total compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Provided? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. 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 comprehensive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional healthcare facilities. They are the ideal means to obtain hands-on clinical training often not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Alameda CA health care community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Finding your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Alameda CA health care community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's critical to confirm that the final program you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is especially important if you opt to still work while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Alameda CA, make sure they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option also. And if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is should you have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Pick the Best Phlebotomist Training near Alameda California
Making sure that you select the right phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomy training programs are offered in a wide range of academic institutes, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program options can vary a bit from state to state as every state has its own prerequisites when it concerns phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to carefully screen and compare each school prior to making your final selection. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomy program for you. And with the proper training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Alameda CA.