How to Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Berkeley CA
Selecting the ideal phlebotomy school near Berkeley CA is an important first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult undertaking to assess and compare all of the school options that are available to you. However it's vital that you do your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a quality education. In reality, most prospective students begin their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional factor you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online schools later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and should be part of your decision process too. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you pick the best one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomist Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their main function, there is actually much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork must be accurately completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Berkeley CA laboratories 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 may be asked to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The simplest response is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are many and varied, such as Berkeley CA hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be charged to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a specific kind of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be collecting blood from older patients. If they are practicing 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 drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients every day.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially 2 kinds of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to complete and offers a basic education together 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 specifically a phlebotomist degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program provide a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. Although not required in most states, many Berkeley CA employers require certification prior to employing technicians. Some of the key 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 call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, like Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a superior education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Schools
To begin with, let's dispel one likely mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A good portion of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical portion of the training can be attended online, it may be a more practical option for some Berkeley CA students. As an added benefit, a number of online programs are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some costs, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy program you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the best choice for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Since you now have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is significant if you will be commuting from Berkeley CA in addition to the cost of tuition. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. All of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. 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 have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you select should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance 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 earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Berkeley CA job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of all colleges you are reviewing. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even check with a few Berkeley CA hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and see if they can offer any insights. As a closing thought, you can check with the California school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Included? First, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length 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 (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out from the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with regional healthcare facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on clinical training frequently not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Berkeley CA medical community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Finding your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Berkeley CA medical community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's important to confirm that the ultimate program you choose provides classes at times that are compatible with your active schedule. This is particularly important if you opt to still work while going to college. If you can only go to 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, confirm it is an option also. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure 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 as a result of illness or emergencies.
Pick the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Berkeley California
Making sure that you select 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 go into the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomy training programs are offered in a number of academic institutions, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide assortment of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course options can vary a bit from state to state as every state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must thoroughly research and compare each program before making your final selection. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomist program for you. And with the appropriate training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Berkeley CA.