How to Choose the Right Phlebotomy Technician Training Classes near Berkeley CA
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomist school near Berkeley CA is a critical initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting task to evaluate and compare each of the school options that are accessible to you. However it's important that you do your due diligence to make certain that you get a superior education. In reality, many students begin their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional factor you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll review more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember 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 need to be part of your decision process as well. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you choose the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Technician Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their primary responsibility, there is in fact far more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork must be accurately completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory screening process. 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 infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Berkeley CA laboratories and are accountable for ensuring that samples are tested properly using the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The simplest response is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are numerous and varied, such as Berkeley CA hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a certain type of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients every day.
Phlebotomist Training, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially 2 kinds of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to complete and offers a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they normally require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program offer a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not mandated in most states, many Berkeley CA employers look for certification before hiring technicians. Some 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 several states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a premium education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Colleges
To begin with, let's dispel one likely mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A good component of the program of studies will be clinical 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-clinical portion of the training can be attended online, it can be a more practical option for some Berkeley CA students. As an additional benefit, some online colleges are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenditures, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist school you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a quality education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the right choice for you.
Should You Go to School to Become a Phlebotomy Technician?First of all, few people probably know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have already discussed, the short definition is a medical professional who draws blood from patients. So of course anyone who selects this profession must be comfortable with needles and blood. And if you are nervous 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 Technicians tend to work around nervous people who hate needles or having their blood taken. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably be expected 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 interacting with people and are patient and compassionate, this could be the right job for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Now that you have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already selected 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 significant if you will be commuting from Berkeley CA in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online school. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are looking at before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely 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 exams you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you pick should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a premium education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future employers in the Berkeley CA job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their students as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even check with some Berkeley CA hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and see if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the California school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Adequate Training Included? First, contact the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. 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 practical training. Anything below these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internships Provided? Ask the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with area medical facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on practical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Berkeley CA health care community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Finding your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Berkeley CA health care community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? And last, it's crucial to make sure that the final program you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is especially true if you opt to still work while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Berkeley CA, check that they are available 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 certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is should you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training near Berkeley California
Making certain that you choose the ideal phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are available in a number of academic institutions, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide assortment of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings can vary slightly across the country as each state has its own mandates when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to diligently research and compare each school before making your ultimate choice. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the ideal phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Berkeley CA.