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Become a Phlebotomist in Alameda California

How to Choose the Best Phlebotomist Training Classes near Alameda CA

Alameda CA phlebotomist drawing blood from patientSelecting the ideal phlebotomy technician school near Alameda CA is an essential first step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting task to analyze and compare all of the training options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's important that you do your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a superior education. In fact, many students start the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional factor you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll review more about online schools later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest 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 provide 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 then resume our conversation about online schools.

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Phlebotomist Job Summary

Alameda CA phlebotomy lab technicianA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their principal responsibility, there is actually so much more to their job description. Before drawing 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 correctly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be properly completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing process. 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. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Alameda CA laboratories and are responsible for ensuring that samples are analyzed correctly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they might be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.

Where do Phlebotomists Work?

The easiest response is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are many and diverse, such as Alameda CA medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be charged to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a certain kind of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be collecting 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 variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients each day.

Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification

blood analysis done in Alameda CA labThere are basically two types of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to complete and offers a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program offer a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. Although not required in most states, many Alameda CA employers look for certification before employing technicians. Some of the key 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 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 important that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a quality education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.

Online Phlebotomist Training

Alameda California woman attending phlebotomy training onlineTo begin with, let's dispel one potential mistaken belief. You can't obtain 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. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical portion of the training can be attended online, it could be a more convenient alternative for many Alameda CA students. As an additional benefit, some online classes are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist program 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 receive a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the right option for you.

Should You Go to School to Become a Phlebotomy Technician?

First of all, few people are likely to know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have already discussed, the short definition is a health care professional who draws blood from patients. So of course anyone who chooses this profession must be OK around blood and needles. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Alameda CA medical facilities, well this profession probably is not the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians routinely work around nervous people who don’t like needles or having their blood taken. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably be expected to work weekends, evenings and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the needles and blood, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the right job for you.

What to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges

Questions to ask Alameda CA phlebotomy schoolsNow that you have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already selected the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. 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. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online school. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are looking at before making your final selection.

Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for all exams you may be required to take.

Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you select should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to a guarantee of a superior education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. 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 Ranking? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, 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 colleges you are reviewing. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even contact several Alameda CA clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and find out if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with 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 Provided? First, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide sufficient training.

Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with area healthcare facilities. They are the optimal way to get hands-on clinical training frequently not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Alameda CA medical community. And they are a plus on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Help Offered? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Alameda CA health care community.

Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's important to make sure that the final school you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you choose to still work while going to school. If you need to go to classes in the evenings 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, verify it is an option also. And if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is in case you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.

Pick the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Alameda California

Making sure that you select the ideal phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding health care field. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are available in a variety of educational institutes, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive assortment of programs in medical care and health sciences. Program options can differ slightly from state to state as each state has its own requirements when it comes to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to diligently screen and compare each program before making your ultimate choice. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the best phlebotomy college for you. And with the proper training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Alameda CA.