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Become a Phlebotomist in Berkeley California

How to Select the Best Phlebotomy Technician Training Classes near Berkeley CA

Berkeley CA phlebotomy tech drawing bloodChoosing the right phlebotomy technician training near Berkeley CA is a critical initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult undertaking to investigate and compare all of the training options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you get a superior education. In fact, many potential students start the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional factor you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area 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 checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and need to be part of your decision 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 reviewing to help you pick the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online classes.

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Phlebotomy Tech Career Description

Berkeley CA phlebotomist lab technicianA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their principal function, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the tools being utilized are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be accurately completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab screening process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Berkeley CA laboratories and are accountable for making certain that samples are analyzed correctly utilizing the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they might be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.

Where do Phlebotomists Practice?

The easiest response is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are many and varied, including Berkeley CA hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a particular kind of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be collecting blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients on a daily basis.

Phlebotomy Technician Training, Certification and Licensing

blood testing done in Berkeley CA laboratoryThere are basically 2 kinds of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to complete and provides a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they typically require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program offer a more expansive background in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not required in most states, most Berkeley CA employers look for certification before hiring technicians. A few of the key 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 call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, including California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a quality education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.

Phlebotomist Online Colleges

Berkeley California student attending phlebotomy school onlineTo begin with, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant component of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical portion of the training may be attended online, it may be a more practical option for some Berkeley CA students. As an added benefit, many online schools are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenditures, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist program you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the right choice for you.

Points to Ask Phlebotomy Programs

Since you now have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is relevant if you will be commuting from Berkeley CA in addition to the tuition expense. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online school. Each of these decisions are an important component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate selection.

Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to California? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and preps you for all examinations you may be required to take.

Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you pick should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting organization, 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. 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 agencies. Next, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are typically not available for non-accredited colleges. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Berkeley CA job market.

What is the Program's Reputation? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of all colleges you are reviewing. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also contact several Berkeley CA hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and find out if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the California school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.

Is Plenty of Training Provided? First, contact the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide sufficient training.

Are Internships Provided? Ask the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional health care facilities. They are the ideal means to obtain hands-on practical training often not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Berkeley CA health care community. And they look good on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Support Offered? Landing your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are looking at provide 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 college has both a good reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Berkeley CA healthcare community.

Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's important to make sure that the final school you pick offers classes at times that are compatible with your hectic lifestyle. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Berkeley CA, make sure they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is in case you need to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.

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Choose the Best Phlebotomy Training near Berkeley California

Making sure that you select the ideal phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying health care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be offered in a number of academic institutions, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program options can differ a bit from state to state as every state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must thoroughly research and compare each school prior to making your final selection. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Berkeley CA.