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Become a Phlebotomist in Berkeley California

How to Pick the Right Phlebotomy Technician Training Course near Berkeley CA

Berkeley CA phlebotomist drawing blood from patientChoosing the right phlebotomist training near Berkeley CA is an important initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting undertaking to investigate and compare all of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's vital that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a quality education. In fact, a large number of students start the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Another factor you may consider 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 remember is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and should be part of your decision process also. 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 select the best one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online schools.

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Phlebotomist Work Summary

Berkeley CA phlebotomist laboratory technicianA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary function, there is in fact much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be properly filled out to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory screening process. The phlebotomist then transports 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. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Berkeley CA labs and are responsible for making sure that samples are analyzed properly under the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.

Where are Phlebotomists Employed?

The simplest answer is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are numerous and varied, including Berkeley CA medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be charged to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a certain type of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be collecting blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients on a daily basis.

Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing

blood analysis performed in Berkeley CA labThere are essentially two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to complete and furnishes a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they normally require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more extensive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. While not mandated in most states, many 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 some states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, like Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you enroll in 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 Schools

Berkeley CA woman attending phlebotomy classes onlineFirst, let's dispel one possible misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial 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 completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical portion of the training may be accessed online, it can be a more convenient alternative for many Berkeley CA students. As an added benefit, a number of online colleges are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some costs, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy college you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the right choice for you.

Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Programs

Now that you have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already decided on 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 college is significant if you will be commuting from Berkeley CA in addition to the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online school. Each of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your final selection.

Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to California? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and readies you for any examinations you may have to take.

Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you pick should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to a guarantee of a quality education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to future employers in the Berkeley CA job market.

What is the School's Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of all colleges you are reviewing. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also check with several Berkeley CA clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can check with the California school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.

Is Plenty of Training Provided? First, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to provide sufficient training.

Are Internships Sponsored? Find out from the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with area healthcare facilities. They are the ideal means to receive hands-on practical training frequently not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Berkeley CA health care community. And they look good on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Help Offered? Finding your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Berkeley CA healthcare community.

Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's crucial to verify that the ultimate school you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your active schedule. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Berkeley CA, make sure they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option also. 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 in case you need to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.

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Choose the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Berkeley California

Making certain that you enroll in the ideal phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomy training programs can be found in a wide range of educational institutes, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide assortment of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings can differ somewhat across the country as each state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must carefully screen and compare each college before making your ultimate choice. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the best phlebotomist college for you. And with the appropriate education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Berkeley CA.