How to Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Training Course near Berkeley CA
Picking the ideal phlebotomist school near Berkeley CA is an important first step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting task to evaluate and compare all of the training options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a quality education. In fact, most potential students begin the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Another factor you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll talk a bit more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and should be part of your selection process as well. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you pick the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomist Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their primary responsibility, there is in fact far more to their job description. Before 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 properly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork has to be correctly completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab 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 infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Berkeley CA laboratories and are in charge of making certain that samples are tested correctly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be asked to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The easiest response is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, including Berkeley CA medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be charged to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a particular type of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily 2 types of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to finish and offers a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they usually require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program offer a more expansive background in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. While not required in most states, a number of Berkeley CA employers look for certification before hiring 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 call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, like California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a superior education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Certificates and Degrees
To begin with, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A good component of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical component of the training can be attended online, it can be a more practical alternative for many Berkeley CA students. As an added benefit, a number of online schools are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomist school you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a quality education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the ideal choice for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Since you now have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already picked 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 campus is important if you will be commuting from Berkeley CA as well as the cost of tuition. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online school. All of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Following are several questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you pick should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a quality education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Berkeley CA job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of all colleges you are considering. 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 research online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also talk to some Berkeley CA clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and find out 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 filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Ample 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 phlebotomy program that you are considering should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional medical facilities. They are the optimal means to get hands-on clinical training often not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Berkeley CA health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Finding your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Berkeley CA medical community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's crucial to confirm that the final school you choose offers classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while going to 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 on a part-time basis, verify it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is should you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Choose the Right Phlebotomy Training near Berkeley California
Making sure that you enroll in the ideal phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare field. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomist training programs can be offered in a number of educational institutes, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Training program options can vary slightly from state to state as each state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to carefully research and compare each school before making your final decision. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the right phlebotomist college for you. And with the proper training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Berkeley CA.