How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Berkeley CA
Picking the ideal phlebotomist training near Berkeley CA is an essential first step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging undertaking to evaluate and compare each of the school alternatives that are available to you. However it's vital that you do your due diligence to make certain that you get a quality education. In reality, most students start the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another option you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll talk more about online classes 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 accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and should be part of your selection process too. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you need to 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 cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomist Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their primary responsibility, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the tools being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork has to be correctly filled out in order to track the sample from the time 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 tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Berkeley CA laboratories and are accountable for ensuring that samples are analyzed correctly under the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they may be asked to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The simplest answer is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are numerous and diverse, such as Berkeley CA medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a specific kind of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients every day.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two types of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to complete and offers a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will include training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they typically take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not mandated in most states, most Berkeley CA employers look for certification prior to employing technicians. Some of the principal 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 require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, like Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a superior education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Colleges
To begin with, let's resolve one possible mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A good part of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical part of the training can be accessed online, it can be a more practical option for many Berkeley CA students. As an additional benefit, some online classes are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenses, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy school you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a quality education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the best choice for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Since you now have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already selected the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is relevant if you will be commuting from Berkeley CA as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online school. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the process for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at 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 decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state 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, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and readies you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you enroll in 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 many benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a premium education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Last, earning a certificate or a degree 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 some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of all colleges you are reviewing. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also contact some Berkeley CA clinics or hospitals that you might be interested 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 grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Adequate Training Provided? To begin with, 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 phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional medical facilities. They are the optimal way to receive hands-on practical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Berkeley CA medical community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Finding your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are reviewing 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 a substantial network of professional contacts within the Berkeley CA health care community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's critical to confirm that the final college you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is especially important if you choose 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. Also, 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 practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is should you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Pick the Right Phlebotomist Training near Berkeley California
Making sure that you pick the right phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomy training programs are available in a variety of educational institutes, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Course offerings may vary somewhat from state to state as every state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must carefully evaluate and compare each program before making your final selection. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomist college for you. And with the proper training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Berkeley CA.