How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Berkeley CA
Picking the ideal phlebotomy school near Berkeley CA is an important initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult task to investigate and compare each of the school options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a quality education. In reality, a large number of students begin the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another factor you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll talk 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 locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your selection process too. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you pick the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomy Technician Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their principal function, there is actually so much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork must be accurately filled out to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory screening procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Berkeley CA labs and are responsible for making sure that samples are tested properly under the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The most basic answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are numerous and diverse, such as Berkeley CA medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be charged to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a particular kind of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home 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. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients every day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily two kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to complete and furnishes a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they normally require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program provide a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. Although not required in most states, many Berkeley CA employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. Some of the primary certifying agencies include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are some states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, such as California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's important that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a premium education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Classes
First, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial part of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical portion of the training can be accessed online, it could be a more convenient option for some Berkeley CA students. As an added benefit, many online schools are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist college you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a superior education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the ideal choice for you.
Should You Become a Phlebotomy Technician?Right out of the gate, not many people probably know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have previously discussed, the basic definition is a medical professional who draws blood from patients. So of course anyone who chooses this profession must be OK around blood and needles. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Berkeley CA medical environments, well this job may not be the best choice for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians routinely work with nervous people who hate needles or having their blood drawn. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you may be expected to work weekends, nights and even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the blood and needles, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the right profession for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Now that you have a basic understanding 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 previously mentioned, the location of the campus is relevant if you will be commuting from Berkeley CA in addition to the cost of tuition. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist school. All of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are looking at before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to California? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you select should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance of a superior education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the Berkeley CA job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of all schools 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 ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also talk to a few Berkeley CA hospitals or clinics that you may 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 find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Provided? First, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with area medical facilities. They are the ideal means to obtain hands-on practical training often not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Berkeley CA healthcare community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Finding your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Berkeley CA health care community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? Finally, it's critical to confirm that the ultimate school you choose provides classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is especially important if you choose to still work while attending school. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Berkeley CA, check that they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option also. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is in case you need to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Berkeley California
Making sure that you select the most suitable phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be found in a variety of educational institutes, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive assortment of programs in medical care and health sciences. Program options 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 diligently research and compare each school before making your ultimate selection. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the right phlebotomy program for you. And with the appropriate training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Berkeley CA.