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Become a Phlebotomist in Berkeley California

How to Select the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Berkeley CA

Berkeley CA phlebotomist drawing blood from patientEnrolling in the ideal phlebotomy training near Berkeley CA is a critical initial step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting undertaking to analyze and compare each of the training alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you get a quality education. In reality, many students start the process by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional factor you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll review more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and must be part of your decision process too. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you choose the best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online training.

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Phlebotomy Tech Career Description

Berkeley CA phlebotomy lab techA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their principal duty, there is actually so much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the tools being employed are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork has to be properly completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory 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 pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Berkeley CA laboratories and are in charge of making sure that samples are tested properly using the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they might be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.

Where do Phlebotomists Practice?

The easiest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are numerous and varied, including Berkeley CA medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be charged to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a particular type of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be collecting blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients on a daily basis.

Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification

blood testing performed in Berkeley CA laboratoryThere are primarily two types of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to finish and provides a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program provide a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not mandated in most states, a number of Berkeley CA employers require certification before employing 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 a few states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, including Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a premium education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.

Phlebotomy Online Colleges

Berkeley California student attending phlebotomy school onlineFirst, let's resolve one possible mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A good component of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical part of the training can be accessed online, it may be a more convenient option for some Berkeley CA students. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenditures, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist college you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a premium education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the right option for you.

Should You Become a Plebotomist?

First of all, not many people probably know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have previously discussed, the short definition is a health care professional whose job is to draw blood. So naturally anyone who chooses this profession must be able to handle blood and needles. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Berkeley CA medical facilities, well this job may not be the best choice for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Techs routinely work around nervous people who hate needles or having their blood drawn. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you may be required to work weekends, evenings and even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the needles and blood, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the perfect profession for you.

Subjects to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges

Questions to ask Berkeley CA phlebotomy schoolsNow that you have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is important if you will be commuting from Berkeley CA as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online college. All of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are reviewing before making your final selection.

Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed before working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and preps you for any exams you may have to take.

Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you pick should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting agency, 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 premium education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future employers in the Berkeley CA job market.

What is the School's Ranking? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of any schools you are considering. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even contact several Berkeley CA clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and find out if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the California school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.

Is Sufficient 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 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 clinical training. Anything less than these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to offer adequate training.

Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional healthcare facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on clinical training often not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Berkeley CA medical community. And they look good on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Support Available? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high 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 substantial network of professional contacts within the Berkeley CA health care community.

Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's critical to verify that the final school you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your hectic lifestyle. This is particularly true if you decide to still work while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Berkeley CA, make certain they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option as well. And if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is should you have to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.

Pick the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Berkeley California

Making certain that you select the most suitable phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomy training programs can be available in a number of educational institutions, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive assortment of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program options may vary a bit from state to state as every state has its own criteria when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must diligently evaluate and compare each college prior to making your final choice. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the ideal phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Berkeley CA.