How to Find the Right Phlebotomy Technician Training Program near Berkeley CA
Selecting the right phlebotomist school near Berkeley CA is a critical initial step toward a fulfilling profession 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 necessary that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a superior education. In reality, many students begin their search by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another factor you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll talk more about online schools later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your selection process too. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Tech Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main duty, there is actually so much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork has to be properly completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab 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 responsible for ensuring that samples are analyzed correctly using the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be required to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The simplest response is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are many and diverse, such as Berkeley CA medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a certain kind of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be drawing blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients each day.
Phlebotomist Education, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially two types of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to complete and offers a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they typically take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program offer a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not mandated in most states, many Berkeley CA employers look for certification prior to 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 several states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, including California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a premium education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Certificates and Degrees
To start with, let's dispel one likely mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A good part of the course of study will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical component of the training can be accessed online, it could be a more practical option for some Berkeley CA students. As an added benefit, some online programs are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist college you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a premium education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the ideal choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Since you now have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is important if you will be commuting from Berkeley CA in addition to the tuition expense. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist program. All of these decisions are a critical component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at 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 decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and preps you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you choose should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future employers in the Berkeley CA job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of any schools you are considering. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also check with a few Berkeley CA hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and find out if they can offer any recommendations. As a final 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 Provided? First, check with the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with area healthcare facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on clinical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Berkeley CA healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Berkeley CA medical community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? And last, it's important to make sure that the final college you choose offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is particularly true if you opt to still work while going to college. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Berkeley CA, make sure they are available 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 ask what the make-up protocol is in case you have to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Pick the Best Phlebotomist Training near Berkeley California
Making certain that you enroll in the ideal phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare career position. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be available in a number of educational institutes, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive range of programs in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings may differ slightly across the country as every state has its own criteria when it concerns phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to carefully screen and compare each school prior to making your ultimate decision. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the right phlebotomist program for you. And with the appropriate training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Berkeley CA.