How to Select the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Alameda CA
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomy technician school near Alameda CA is a critical first step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult task to investigate and compare each of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's vital that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you receive a superior education. In fact, a large number of potential students start their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another factor you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll review a bit more about online schools later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and should be part of your selection process also. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you pick the right one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomy Technician Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their main duty, there is actually much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the tools being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork must be correctly filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Alameda CA laboratories and are in charge of making certain that samples are tested correctly under the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they might be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The most basic answer is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are many and diverse, including Alameda CA hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a specific type of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients each day.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
There are basically two types of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to complete and furnishes a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they usually require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program provide a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, most Alameda CA employers look for certification before employing technicians. Some 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 some 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 pick a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a quality education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Training
To start with, let's dispel one potential misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant portion of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical part of the training may be attended online, it might be a more practical option for some Alameda CA students. As an additional benefit, some online classes are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy 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 receive a superior education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online might be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Since you now have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already decided on the kind of program you want 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. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist college. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to California? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and preps you for all examinations you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you choose should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a superior education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Alameda CA job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of all schools you are looking at. 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 research online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also talk to several Alameda CA clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and see if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the California school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Enough Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should provide at least 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 furnish sufficient training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional healthcare facilities. They are the ideal means to receive hands-on practical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Alameda CA healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Finding your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Alameda CA medical community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? Finally, it's crucial to confirm that the ultimate program you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is especially important if you decide to still work while attending school. If you can only attend 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, make sure 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 completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is in case you need to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Alameda California
Making certain that you choose the right phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying health care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomist training programs can be found in a variety of educational institutes, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive range of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings can differ a bit across the country as every state has its own criteria when it concerns phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to diligently research and compare each program before making your final decision. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the best phlebotomist school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Alameda CA.