How to Find the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Bakersfield CA
Picking the ideal phlebotomy technician training near Bakersfield CA is an essential first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging task to investigate and compare each of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you get a superior education. In fact, a large number of students start their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll review a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and must be part of your selection process also. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you choose the right one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their principal responsibility, there is in fact far more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the tools being utilized are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be properly 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 lab screening process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Bakersfield CA laboratories and are in charge of making sure that samples are tested properly under the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they may be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The simplest answer is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are many and diverse, such as Bakersfield CA medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a specific type of patient. For instance, 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 newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing
There are basically 2 kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to complete and provides a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they typically require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program furnish a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not mandated in most states, most Bakersfield CA employers look for certification prior to hiring 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 require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, including California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a premium education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Schools
To start with, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant portion of the program of studies 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. However since the non-practical portion of the training can be accessed online, it can be a more practical alternative for some Bakersfield CA students. As an additional benefit, a number of online colleges are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenditures, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy school 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 premium education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the right choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Now that you have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already decided on the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is significant if you will be commuting from Bakersfield CA as well as the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist school. All of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about all of the colleges you are reviewing prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a premium education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to future 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 phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of any schools you are looking at. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also talk to several Bakersfield CA clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and find out if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the California school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Enough Training Included? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at 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 indicate that the program is not expansive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional healthcare facilities. They are the ideal means to obtain hands-on clinical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Bakersfield CA medical community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Finding your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Bakersfield CA healthcare community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to confirm that the ultimate school you pick offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while going to college. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Bakersfield CA, make certain they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option also. And if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make certain 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 because of emergencies or illness.
Pick the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Bakersfield California
Making certain that you select the ideal phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying health care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are found in a variety of educational institutions, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Course options can vary a bit from state to state as every state has its own criteria when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to carefully evaluate and compare each college prior to making your ultimate selection. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the best phlebotomy program for you. And with the proper training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Bakersfield CA.