How to Select the Right Phlebotomy Technician Training Classes near Berkeley CA
Choosing the right phlebotomy technician training near Berkeley CA is an important first step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging task to investigate and compare each of the training alternatives that are available to you. However it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a quality education. In fact, a large number of potential students begin the process by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another factor you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll review a bit more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your selection process as well. 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 choose the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Tech Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their main task, there is actually far more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the instruments being utilized are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be correctly completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab screening process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Berkeley CA laboratories and are accountable for making sure that samples are analyzed properly using the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they might be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The simplest answer is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are many and varied, such as Berkeley CA hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be charged to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a particular type of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Licensing and Certification
There are basically 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to complete and offers a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they typically require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program offer a more extensive background in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. While not required in the majority of states, a number of Berkeley CA employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. A few of the principal 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, such as Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a premium education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Classes
First, let's dispel one potential misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial component of the curriculum 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 completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical component of the training can be accessed online, it may be a more practical alternative for some Berkeley CA students. As an added benefit, many online schools are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist school you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a quality education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the best option for you.
Should You Choose a Career as a Phlebotomy Technician?First of all, not many people probably know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have already discussed, the short answer is a health care professional who draws blood from patients. So naturally 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 facilities, well this profession may not be right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians often work with nervous people who don’t like needles or having their blood drawn. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you may be expected to work weekends, evenings and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the needles and blood, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the right profession for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Since you now have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is relevant if you will be commuting from Berkeley CA as well as the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online college. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you should ask about all of the colleges you are looking at before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed before working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and prepares you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you pick should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a premium education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Berkeley CA job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of all colleges you are reviewing. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also check with a few Berkeley CA clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and find out if they can provide any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the California school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Adequate Training Provided? First, contact the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Ask the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with local medical facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on practical training frequently not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Berkeley CA medical community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Landing your first phlebotomist position 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 rate is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Berkeley CA medical community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to confirm that the final college you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is especially true if you decide to still work while going to college. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Berkeley CA, make certain they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, confirm 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 need to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Choose the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Berkeley California
Making certain that you enroll in the most suitable phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be available in a wide range of academic institutes, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive assortment of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings may vary a bit across the country as each state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must thoroughly evaluate and compare each college before making your ultimate selection. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the right phlebotomist program for you. And with the appropriate education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Berkeley CA.