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Become a Phlebotomist in Berkeley California

How to Select the Right Phlebotomy Technician Training Program near Berkeley CA

Berkeley CA phlebotomy tech drawing blood from patientChoosing the ideal phlebotomist training near Berkeley CA is a critical first step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting undertaking to analyze and compare each of the training options that are available to you. However it's necessary that you do your due diligence to make certain that you get a quality education. In reality, most students start the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional option you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll talk a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and must 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 assessing to help you pick the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online classes.

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Phlebotomy Technician Work Summary

Berkeley CA phlebotomist lab techA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their main responsibility, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork has to be correctly completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Berkeley CA labs and are in charge of making sure that samples are analyzed correctly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they may be required to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.

Where do Phlebotomists Practice?

The simplest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are many and diverse, including Berkeley CA medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a specific type of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients every day.

Phlebotomy Technician Education, Certification and Licensing

blood analysis performed in Berkeley CA laboratoryThere are primarily 2 kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to finish and furnishes a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they normally require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program provide a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not required in the majority of states, most Berkeley CA employers require certification prior to employing technicians. A few of the key certifying agencies include:

  • National Phlebotomy Association
  • National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
  • American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
  • American Medical Technologists (AMT)

There are several states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's important that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a premium education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.

Online Phlebotomy Classes

Berkeley California student attending phlebotomy school onlineTo begin with, let's dispel one likely mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial portion of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical portion of the training can be attended online, it might be a more convenient option for some Berkeley CA students. As an additional benefit, many online programs are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenditures, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy program you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the ideal choice for you.

What to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges

Since you now have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already picked the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is relevant if you will be commuting from Berkeley CA as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist college. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the process for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision.

Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to California? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing 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 working and prepares you for all examinations you may be required to take.

Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you choose should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages 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 be able to take a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited colleges. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Berkeley CA job market.

What is the College's Reputation? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to investigate the reputations of any schools you are considering. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even contact some Berkeley CA hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and find out if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the California school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.

Is Adequate Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer sufficient training.

Are Internships Provided? Ask the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with regional medical facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on practical training often not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Berkeley CA medical community. And they look good on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Help Offered? Landing your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Berkeley CA healthcare community.

Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's crucial to confirm that the ultimate program you choose offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic lifestyle. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while attending college. If you need to attend classes in the evenings 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 clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is in case you need to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.

Enroll in the Best Phlebotomist Training near Berkeley California

Berkeley CA phlebotomist laboratory blood analysisMaking certain that you pick the right phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying health care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomy training programs are found in a variety of educational institutions, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide assortment of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options can differ slightly across the country as every state has its own mandates when it comes to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to diligently screen and compare each college prior to making your final decision. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the ideal phlebotomist school for you. And with the appropriate education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Berkeley CA.