How to Select the Right Phlebotomy Technician School near Berkeley CA
Selecting the ideal phlebotomist school near Berkeley CA is a critical initial step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting task to analyze and compare each of the training options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's important that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a superior education. In reality, a large number of potential students begin the process by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another factor 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 far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and need to 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 right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomist Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their main function, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the tools being utilized are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork needs to be correctly filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing process. The phlebotomist then delivers 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. Some phlebotomists actually work in Berkeley CA labs and are accountable for making sure that samples are tested properly under the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they may be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The simplest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are many and varied, including Berkeley CA medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a particular kind of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily two types of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to complete and provides a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program provide a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will probably want to be certified. While not mandated in most states, many Berkeley CA employers look for certification before employing technicians. A few of the main certifying agencies 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, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a quality education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Training
First, let's dispel one potential mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant portion of the course of study will be practical training and it will be conducted 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-clinical component of the training may be attended online, it might be a more convenient alternative for some Berkeley CA students. As an additional benefit, many online schools are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some expenses, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist program you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online might be the right choice for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Now that you have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already picked the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is important if you will be commuting from Berkeley CA as well as the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online school. All of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you need to ask about all of the colleges you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and readies you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you pick should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a quality 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 earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited schools. Finally, 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 numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of all colleges you are reviewing. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also contact a few Berkeley CA hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the California school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in total 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 clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with local medical facilities. They are the optimal means to get hands-on practical training frequently not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Berkeley CA health care community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Landing your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, signifying 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 large network of professional contacts within the Berkeley CA health care community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's critical to make sure that the final program you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your hectic lifestyle. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Berkeley CA, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is in case you need to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Berkeley California
Making certain that you pick the right phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomy training programs are offered in a number of educational institutes, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive array of programs in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings may vary slightly across the country as each state has its own prerequisites when it concerns phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must diligently research and compare each program prior to making your final choice. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomy school for you. And with the appropriate education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Berkeley CA.