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Become a Phlebotomist in Berkeley California

How to Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training Classes near Berkeley CA

Berkeley CA phlebotomist drawing blood from patientEnrolling in the right phlebotomist training near Berkeley CA is an important initial step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting undertaking to evaluate and compare all of the school alternatives that are available to you. However it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you get a quality education. In reality, a large number of potential students begin the process by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional factor you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll talk more about online classes later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your selection process too. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you should 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 then continue our conversation about online training.

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Phlebotomist Work Description

Berkeley CA phlebotomist lab techA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main duty, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the tools being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork has to be properly filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening procedure. The phlebotomist then transports 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. Many phlebotomists actually work in Berkeley CA laboratories and are responsible for making sure that samples are analyzed properly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they can be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.

Where do Phlebotomists Practice?

The simplest response is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are numerous and varied, such as Berkeley CA hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be charged to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a specific kind of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients on a daily basis.

Phlebotomy Training, Certification and Licensing

blood testing done in Berkeley CA laboratoryThere are essentially 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to complete and provides a basic education along with 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, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program offer a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. While not required in most states, a number of Berkeley CA employers look for certification prior to employing 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 some states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, such as California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's important that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a quality education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.

Phlebotomist Online Certificates and Degrees

Berkeley CA woman attending phlebotomy classes onlineTo begin with, let's dispel one possible mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A good part of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical portion of the training may be attended online, it can be a more convenient alternative for many Berkeley CA students. As an additional benefit, many online classes are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some costs, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomy college you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a premium education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online may be the best choice for you.

Should You Choose a Career as a Plebotomist?

Right out of the gate, not many people probably know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have previously discussed, the basic answer is a health care professional whose job is to draw blood. So of course anyone who chooses this profession must be able to handle needles and blood. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Berkeley CA medical environments, well this profession probably is not right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Techs tend to work around nervous people who hate needles or having their blood drawn. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably be required to work weekends, nights and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the needles and blood, and if you enjoy helping people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the perfect job for you.

Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Schools

What to ask Berkeley CA phlebotomy schoolsNow that you have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, 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 decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online college. Each of these decisions are an important component of the process for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are looking at prior to 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 call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed before working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for any exams you may be required to take.

Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you pick should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting agency, 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 quality education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited programs. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future employers in the Berkeley CA job market.

What is the College's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of any schools you are looking at. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even talk to some Berkeley CA clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and find out if they can offer any insights. As a final 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 total compliance.

Is Sufficient Training Included? First, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at 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 offer sufficient training.

Are Internships Provided? Find out from the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with area medical facilities. They are the optimal way to receive hands-on practical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Berkeley CA health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Help Offered? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Berkeley CA healthcare community.

Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to make sure that the final school you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is particularly important if you opt to still work while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Berkeley CA, make sure they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.

Pick the Best Phlebotomist Training near Berkeley California

Making certain that you select the ideal phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomy training programs are available in a wide range of educational institutes, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings may vary slightly across the country as each state has its own mandates when it comes to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must thoroughly screen and compare each program before making your final selection. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the best phlebotomist program for you. And with the appropriate training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Berkeley CA.