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Become a Phlebotomist in Bakersfield California

How to Choose the Best Phlebotomy Tech Training Program near Bakersfield CA

Bakersfield CA phlebotomy tech drawing bloodSelecting the ideal phlebotomist school near Bakersfield CA is an essential first step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging task to analyze and compare each of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you get a quality education. In reality, most students begin the process by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional factor you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll review more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and must be part of your selection process as well. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you select the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online training.

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Phlebotomist Job Summary

Bakersfield CA phlebotomy laboratory techA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their main function, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork needs to be correctly completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory screening 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. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Bakersfield CA laboratories and are responsible for making sure that samples are tested properly using the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they may be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.

Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?

The most basic response is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are numerous and diverse, such as Bakersfield CA medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be tasked 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 specific kind of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be collecting blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients on a daily basis.

Phlebotomist Education, Certification and Licensing

blood testing done in Bakersfield CA laboratoryThere are basically two kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to finish and provides a general 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, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they normally require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program offer a more extensive background in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. Although not required in the majority of states, most Bakersfield CA employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. Some of the principal 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 phlebotomist, including California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a premium education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.

Phlebotomist Online Colleges

Bakersfield CA woman attending phlebotomy school onlineTo begin with, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant component 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 part of the training may be accessed online, it could be a more practical option for some Bakersfield CA students. As an additional benefit, a number of online classes are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy program you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a quality education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the right option for you.

Should You Become a Phlebotomy Tech?

Right out of the gate, few people probably know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have previously discussed, the basic answer is a medical professional who draws blood from patients. So of course anyone who decides to enter this profession must be able to handle blood and needles. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Bakersfield CA medical environments, well this profession probably is not right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomists tend to work around nervous people who hate needles or having their blood taken. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably be expected to work weekends, nights and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the needles and blood, and if you enjoy helping people and are patient and compassionate, this may be the perfect profession for you.

What to Ask Phlebotomist Programs

Questions to ask Bakersfield CA phlebotomy schoolsNow that you have a general 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 type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is significant if you will be commuting from Bakersfield CA as well as the tuition expense. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online school. All of these decisions are a critical part of the process for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Following are several questions that you need to ask about all of the colleges you are looking at before making your final decision.

Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to California? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed before working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and prepares you for all exams you may be required to take.

Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future employers in the Bakersfield CA job market.

What is the Program's Ranking? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of all colleges you are reviewing. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even talk to several Bakersfield CA clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and find out if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the California school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools 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 amount of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.

Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with local medical facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on practical training often not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Bakersfield CA health care community. And they are a plus on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the assistance 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, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Bakersfield CA medical community.

Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's important to verify that the final program you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Bakersfield CA, make sure they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.

Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Bakersfield California

Making certain that you choose the most suitable phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are found in a number of academic institutes, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program options can vary somewhat across the country as every state has its own criteria when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must thoroughly evaluate and compare each school prior to making your ultimate choice. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the right phlebotomist school for you. And with the appropriate education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Bakersfield CA.