How to Pick the Right Phlebotomy Tech School near Alameda CA
Selecting the right phlebotomy training near Alameda CA is an essential initial step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult task to analyze and compare each of the training options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a quality education. In fact, most prospective students begin their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll review a bit more about online classes later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and need to be part of your selection process too. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you choose the right one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online schools.
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Phlebotomist Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their primary task, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be correctly completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Alameda CA labs and are accountable for ensuring that samples are tested properly using the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they may be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The easiest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, including Alameda CA medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a particular kind of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Training, Licensing and Certification
There are basically 2 kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to complete and offers a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program furnish a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. While not required in the majority of states, many Alameda CA employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. A few of the main 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 call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, such as Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a premium education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Classes
To start with, let's dispel one possible mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A good component of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical portion of the training may be attended online, it may be a more convenient option for many Alameda CA students. As an additional benefit, a number of online colleges are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced also. Just verify that the online phlebotomist college you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a quality education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the right choice for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Since you now have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the type of program you wish 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 as well as the cost of tuition. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist program. All of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about each of the colleges you are looking at prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to select 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 exams you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you select should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance of a premium education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the Alameda CA job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those 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 start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also check with a few Alameda CA clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and see if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the California school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Adequate Training Provided? First, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing 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 below these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out from the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with local healthcare facilities. They are the ideal means to get hands-on clinical training often not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Alameda CA health care community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place the majority 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 medical community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to verify that the final school you pick offers classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is particularly true if you opt to still work while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Alameda CA, check that they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, 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 policy is in case you have to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Choose the Best Phlebotomist Training near Alameda California
Making certain that you pick the most suitable phlebotomy 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 contribute toward the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be offered in a number of academic institutes, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive assortment of courses in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings can vary slightly across the country as each state has its own requirements when it pertains to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to carefully evaluate and compare each college before making your final choice. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the ideal phlebotomy college for you. And with the proper training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Alameda CA.