How to Pick the Right Phlebotomy Technician Training Program near Bakersfield CA
Selecting the right phlebotomy training near Bakersfield CA is an essential initial step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult undertaking to evaluate and compare all of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you receive a superior education. In reality, most potential students start their search by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional option you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll review 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 locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your decision process also. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you choose the best one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their principal task, there is actually so much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the tools being utilized are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be accurately filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Bakersfield CA laboratories and are in charge of making sure that samples are analyzed properly utilizing the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they may be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The simplest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are many and diverse, such as Bakersfield CA hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be charged to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a certain kind of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be drawing blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists 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 Training, Certification and Licensing
There are basically 2 kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to finish and furnishes 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 provide training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program offer a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, many Bakersfield CA employers look for certification before hiring technicians. Some of the main 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 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 furnishes a premium education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Schools
To begin with, let's resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial part 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 completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical part of the training can be attended online, it might be a more practical option for many Bakersfield CA students. As an added benefit, many online schools are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some costs, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomy program you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a premium education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the best choice for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Since you now have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already decided on the kind of program you intend 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 opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. All of these decisions are a critical part of the process for selecting 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 should ask about all of the schools you are reviewing prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to California? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and preps you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a superior education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited schools. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the Bakersfield CA job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of all 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 screen online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even check with several Bakersfield CA clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and see if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the California school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Enough Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Ask the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with area healthcare facilities. They are the ideal means to obtain hands-on practical training typically not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Bakersfield CA healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Finding your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Bakersfield CA health care community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's crucial to verify that the ultimate program you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is particularly true if you choose to still work while attending college. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Bakersfield CA, make sure they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option also. And if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is in case you need to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Training near Bakersfield California
Making sure that you select the right phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be available in a variety of educational institutions, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive assortment of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings can differ a bit across the country as each state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must thoroughly evaluate and compare each school prior to making your final selection. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomy school for you. And with the proper training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Bakersfield CA.