How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Training Classes near Berkeley CA
Choosing the ideal phlebotomy training near Berkeley CA is an important initial step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting task to evaluate and compare all of the school options that are available to you. However it's vital that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you receive a quality education. In reality, many prospective students begin the process by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another factor you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online schools later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and must be part of your decision process also. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you choose the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomy Technician Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their primary duty, there is actually far more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the tools being employed are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork needs to be properly completed in order 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. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Berkeley CA laboratories and are responsible for making sure that samples are analyzed properly under the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The quickest response is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are numerous and diverse, such as Berkeley CA hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a particular type of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients each day.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two types 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 general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest 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 to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they usually require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program offer a more comprehensive 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 Berkeley 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 some states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, like Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a quality education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Colleges
To begin with, let's resolve one possible mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A good part of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical part of the training can be accessed online, it might be a more convenient option for some Berkeley CA students. As an added benefit, a number of online schools are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some costs, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy school you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the ideal option for you.
Should You Choose a Career as a Phlebotomy Tech?First of all, not many people are likely to know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have previously discussed, the basic definition is a health care professional whose job is to draw blood. So naturally anyone who selects this profession must be comfortable with blood and needles. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Berkeley CA medical facilities, well this job probably is not right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Techs routinely work with anxious people who hate needles or having a blood sample taken. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you will probably be expected to work weekends, nights and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the needles and blood, and if you enjoy helping people and are patient and compassionate, this could be the perfect job for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Now that you have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is relevant if you will be commuting from Berkeley CA in addition to the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online program. All of these decisions are a critical component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about all of the colleges you are reviewing before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed before working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you select should be accredited by a recognized 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 program in addition to an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited schools. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Berkeley CA job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of any schools you are considering. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also talk to some Berkeley CA hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can offer 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 schools are in total compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Provided? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional medical facilities. They are the optimal way to get hands-on clinical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Berkeley CA health care community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Getting your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Berkeley CA health care community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? Finally, it's critical to verify that the final college you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your hectic schedule. This is especially true if you decide to still work while attending college. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Berkeley CA, make sure they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option also. Even 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 should you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Choose the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Berkeley California
Making certain that you select the right phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomist training programs can be found in a variety of educational institutions, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings can vary a bit across the country as each state has its own criteria when it concerns phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must carefully research 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 select the right phlebotomist school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Berkeley CA.