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Become a Phlebotomist in Berkeley California

How to Choose the Right Phlebotomy Training Course near Berkeley CA

Berkeley CA phlebotomist drawing bloodEnrolling in the right phlebotomy technician training near Berkeley CA is an important initial step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging undertaking to analyze and compare all of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you receive a superior education. In reality, most prospective students begin the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll review a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and need to be part of your decision process as well. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you choose the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online training.

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Phlebotomist Job Description

Berkeley CA phlebotomist lab techA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their main function, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the instruments being utilized are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork must be correctly filled out 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 in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Berkeley CA labs and are in charge of ensuring that samples are tested correctly under the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.

Where do Phlebotomists Work?

The quickest answer 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 collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a specific type of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients every day.

Phlebotomist Education, Licensing and Certification

blood testing done in Berkeley CA labThere are primarily 2 types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to complete and offers a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they usually require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program offer a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. Although not required in the majority of states, a number of Berkeley CA employers look for certification prior to employing technicians. Some of the main 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 call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, such as Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's important that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a quality education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.

Online Phlebotomy Schools

Berkeley California woman attending phlebotomy school onlineTo begin with, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A good part of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical part of the training may be attended online, it could be a more practical option for many Berkeley CA students. As an added benefit, some online classes are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some costs, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized also. Just verify that the online phlebotomist program you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a superior education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online might be the right choice for you.

Should You Train to Be a Plebotomist?

First of all, few people are likely to know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have already discussed, the short answer is a medical professional whose job is to draw blood. So naturally anyone who chooses this profession must be OK around blood and needles. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Berkeley CA medical environments, well this profession probably is not the best choice for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians often work around nervous people who hate needles or having their blood taken. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably be expected to work weekends, nights and even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the blood and needles, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the right job for you.

Subjects to Ask Phlebotomist Schools

What to ask Berkeley CA phlebotomy schoolsNow that you have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already picked the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is important if you will be commuting from Berkeley CA as well as the cost of tuition. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online school. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are reviewing prior to making your final selection.

Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed before working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for any exams you may have to take.

Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you pick should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a quality education. First, 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 often unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Finally, 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 College's Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of any schools you are looking at. 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 research internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also talk to a few Berkeley CA clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the California school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.

Is Ample Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.

Are Internships Provided? Ask the schools you are considering 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 provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Berkeley CA healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Support Provided? Finding your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Berkeley CA medical community.

Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's critical to verify that the final college you choose provides classes at times that are compatible with your active schedule. This is particularly true if you opt to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night 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, confirm 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 completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is in case you need to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.

Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Berkeley California

Making sure that you pick the right phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be found in a variety of educational institutes, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings can differ a bit across the country as every state has its own criteria when it concerns phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must thoroughly evaluate and compare each school before making your final decision. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the ideal phlebotomist college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Berkeley CA.