How to Select the Right Phlebotomy Training Course near Berkeley CA
Picking the right phlebotomy technician training near Berkeley CA is a critical initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult task to assess and compare each of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's important that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you get a quality education. In fact, many students begin the process by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another factor you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll talk a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and must be part of your selection process also. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you pick the best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their main function, there is actually far more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the instruments being utilized are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be correctly filled out to be able to track the sample from the point 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 may be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Berkeley CA laboratories and are in charge of ensuring that samples are analyzed correctly using the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The quickest answer is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are many and diverse, including Berkeley CA medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a particular type of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially two types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to finish and provides a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they normally require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program provide a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not required in the majority of states, a number of Berkeley CA employers look for certification prior to employing technicians. A few 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 several states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, like California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a superior education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Schools
First, let's dispel one possible misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial part of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical component of the training can be attended online, it may be a more practical alternative for many Berkeley CA students. As an added benefit, a number of online colleges are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some costs, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist school you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a premium education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the right option for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Since you now have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is relevant if you will be commuting from Berkeley CA as well as the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online school. All of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to California? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you select should be accredited by a reputable regional or national 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 premium education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Berkeley CA job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of any colleges you are considering. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also check with a few Berkeley CA hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and see if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the California school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with local health care facilities. They are the ideal means to obtain hands-on practical training frequently not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Berkeley CA healthcare community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Landing your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Berkeley CA health care community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? Finally, it's important to verify that the final program you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Berkeley CA, make certain they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option also. And if you have decided to study 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 have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Pick the Best Phlebotomy Training near Berkeley California
Making certain that you select the most suitable phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care field. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are found in a number of academic institutes, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings may vary somewhat across the country as every state has its own requirements when it comes to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to thoroughly research and compare each college prior to making your final selection. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the ideal phlebotomy program for you. And with the appropriate education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Berkeley CA.