How to Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training Course near Bakersfield CA
Selecting the ideal phlebotomy technician school near Bakersfield CA is an essential initial step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting task to investigate and compare all of the school options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a quality education. In reality, a large number of potential students start their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional factor you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your selection process as well. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you pick the right one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online schools.
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Phlebotomist Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main responsibility, there is in fact far more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the tools being employed are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork must be accurately filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Bakersfield CA laboratories and are in charge of ensuring that samples are tested correctly under the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they can be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The easiest answer is wherever there are patients. Their work places are numerous and varied, including Bakersfield CA medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a certain type of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be drawing 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 working in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Licensing and Certification
There are basically 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to complete and provides a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they normally take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program provide a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not required in most states, many Bakersfield CA employers look for certification prior to employing 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 a few states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, such as Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a quality education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Schools
To begin with, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A good component of the course of study will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical portion of the training can be attended online, it could be a more convenient option for some Bakersfield CA students. As an added benefit, many online schools are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenses, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy program you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a quality education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the right option for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Since you now have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin 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 important if you will be commuting from Bakersfield CA in addition to the cost of tuition. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online college. All of these decisions are an important part of the process for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are looking at prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed before working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you choose should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a superior education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Bakersfield CA job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of all colleges you are reviewing. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even talk to a few Bakersfield CA clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and find out if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the California school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Ample Training Provided? 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 classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with local health care facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on clinical training often not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Bakersfield CA health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Bakersfield CA healthcare community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? Finally, it's crucial to verify that the final college you choose offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is especially true if you opt to still work while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Bakersfield CA, make sure they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option also. Even if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is in case you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
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Choose the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Bakersfield California
Making sure that you select the ideal phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding health care field. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomist training programs are offered in a number of academic institutions, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options may vary a bit from state to state as each state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to carefully evaluate and compare each college before making your final selection. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomy program for you. And with the appropriate education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Bakersfield CA.