How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Training Classes near Bakersfield CA
Choosing the right phlebotomist school near Bakersfield CA is an essential first step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging undertaking to evaluate and compare each of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you receive a superior education. In fact, most potential students start their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional factor you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and should be part of your selection 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 select the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomy Technician Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main task, there is in fact far more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the tools being utilized are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be accurately completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Bakersfield CA labs and are responsible for making certain that samples are analyzed properly under the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they might be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The easiest response is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are many and varied, such as Bakersfield CA medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be charged to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a certain type of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be collecting blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.
Phlebotomist Education, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to finish and offers a basic education along with 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, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program provide a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not required in the majority of states, many Bakersfield CA employers require certification before hiring 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 in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, such as Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's important that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a quality education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Certificates and Degrees
First, let's resolve one likely mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial part of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical component of the training may be attended online, it can be a more practical option for some Bakersfield CA students. As an additional benefit, many online classes are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenditures, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy college you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the best option for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Since you now have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already decided on the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is relevant if you will be commuting from Bakersfield CA in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist program. Each of these decisions are an important part of the procedure 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 each of the programs you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you select should be accredited by a respected national or regional 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. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future employers in the Bakersfield CA job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to investigate the reputations of all schools you are considering. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations 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 submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Included? First, check with the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Ask the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with area medical facilities. They are the optimal way to obtain hands-on practical training frequently not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Bakersfield CA healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the support 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 most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Bakersfield CA medical community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's important to confirm that the ultimate program you pick offers classes at times that are compatible with your hectic lifestyle. This is particularly true if you opt to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Bakersfield 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 protocol is in case you have to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Training near Bakersfield California
Making sure that you pick the right phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding health care field. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be available in a wide range of educational institutions, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course options may differ slightly across the country as each state has its own prerequisites when it comes to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must carefully research and compare each program before making your final decision. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the right phlebotomy college for you. And with the proper training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Bakersfield CA.