How to Pick the Best Phlebotomist School near Berkeley CA
Picking the right phlebotomist school near Berkeley CA is an essential initial step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult undertaking to assess and compare all of the training options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you get a superior education. In fact, most students begin the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another option you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll talk more about online classes later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is a lot 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 must be part of your decision process too. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Tech Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their main task, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the tools being employed are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be correctly filled out in order to track the sample from the point 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 tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Berkeley CA labs and are accountable for making certain that samples are tested properly under the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they might be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The quickest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are numerous and diverse, including Berkeley CA hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a specific type of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be drawing blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients every day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially two types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to finish and furnishes a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not required in the majority of states, many Berkeley CA employers require certification prior to employing 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 in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, including California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a superior education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Schools
To begin with, let's resolve one possible misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial portion of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be carried out 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-practical part of the training may be accessed online, it might be a more practical alternative for many Berkeley CA students. As an added benefit, some online schools are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist school you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online might be the right option for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Now that you have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. 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. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy college. All of these decisions are a critical component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about all of the colleges you are reviewing prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed before working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may 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 preps you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you pick should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Berkeley CA job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist 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 any colleges you are considering. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their students as part of their job placement program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also contact several Berkeley CA clinics or hospitals that you might 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 find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Provided? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomist 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 below these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with local health care facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on clinical training typically not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Berkeley CA medical community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Berkeley CA medical community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to verify that the ultimate program you pick offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is particularly true if you choose to still work while going to school. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Berkeley CA, make sure they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is in case you have to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Choose the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Berkeley California
Making certain that you pick the ideal phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying health care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomist training programs are offered in a variety of academic institutes, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive range of programs in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings may vary somewhat across the country as each 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 program before making your ultimate decision. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the best phlebotomist school for you. And with the proper education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Berkeley CA.