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Become a Phlebotomist in Berkeley California

How to Select the Right Phlebotomy Technician School near Berkeley CA

Berkeley CA phlebotomy tech drawing blood from patientEnrolling in the ideal phlebotomist school near Berkeley CA is an important first step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting undertaking to analyze and compare each of the training alternatives that are available to you. However it's vital that you do your due diligence to make sure that you receive a quality education. In fact, a large number of prospective students start the process by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another option you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll talk more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your selection process also. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you select the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online classes.

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Phlebotomist Job Description

Berkeley CA phlebotomy laboratory techA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary responsibility, there is in fact much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the instruments being used are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork must be properly completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. 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. Many phlebotomists actually work in Berkeley CA labs and are accountable for making certain that samples are tested properly utilizing the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they might be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.

Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?

The easiest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, such as Berkeley CA hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a certain 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 mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients each day.

Phlebotomy Technician Training, Certification and Licensing

blood analysis performed in Berkeley CA laboratoryThere are essentially 2 kinds of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to complete and furnishes a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program furnish a more extensive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, a number of Berkeley CA employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. Some of the main 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 Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a quality education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.

Phlebotomist Online Training

Berkeley California woman attending phlebotomy classes onlineTo begin with, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant part of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical component of the training may be accessed online, it can be a more practical option for some Berkeley CA students. As an added benefit, many online colleges are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenses, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist school you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online might be the ideal option for you.

Should You Go to School to Become a Plebotomist?

Right out of the gate, not many people are likely to know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have previously discussed, the short answer is a health care professional who draws blood from patients. So of course anyone who decides to enter this profession must be comfortable with blood and needles. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Berkeley CA medical environments, well this job may not be right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomists routinely work with nervous people who hate needles or having their blood taken. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you will probably be required to work weekends, nights and even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the blood and needles, and if you enjoy helping people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the perfect profession for you.

What to Ask Phlebotomist Programs

Questions to ask Berkeley CA phlebotomy schoolsSince you now have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is important if you will be commuting from Berkeley CA as well as the tuition expense. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist school. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the process for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are looking at prior to making your final selection.

Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed before working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very 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 any exams you may have to take.

Is the School 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 many benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a quality education. First, if your program is not accredited, 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 financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited schools. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Berkeley CA job market.

What is the College's Reputation? 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 essential to investigate the reputations of all schools you are looking at. 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 screen online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also talk to a few Berkeley CA hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and find out if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can check with the California school licensing authority and ask 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 classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to provide adequate training.

Are Internships Sponsored? Ask the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with local health care facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on clinical training often not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Berkeley CA healthcare community. And they look good on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Support Available? Landing your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Berkeley CA medical community.

Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's critical to confirm that the final college you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while attending school. 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, make sure 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 protocol is should you need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.

Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Berkeley California

Making certain that you pick the right phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare field. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomist training programs can be found in a number of academic institutions, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide assortment of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program options can vary somewhat across the country as every state has its own prerequisites when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must thoroughly evaluate and compare each school before making your final selection. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the best phlebotomist college for you. And with the proper education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Berkeley CA.