How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist School near Bakersfield CA
Picking the right phlebotomy technician training near Bakersfield CA is an essential first step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting task to analyze and compare all of the school options that are available to you. However it's important that you do your due diligence to make certain that you receive a quality education. In fact, many potential students start the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional option you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll talk more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is far 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 must be part of your selection process also. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you pick the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomy Tech Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main responsibility, there is in fact much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the tools being employed are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork needs to be accurately filled out in order 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 may be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Bakersfield CA laboratories and are in charge of making sure that samples are analyzed correctly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they might be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The most basic response is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are numerous and diverse, including Bakersfield CA hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be charged to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a certain kind 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, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Training, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to complete and offers a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest means 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 to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they usually take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not required in the majority of states, many Bakersfield CA employers require certification before employing technicians. A few of the primary 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, including Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a premium education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Colleges
To start with, let's resolve one possible misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A good part of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical component of the training can be attended online, it could be a more practical option for many Bakersfield CA students. As an additional benefit, many online schools are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some costs, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist program you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the right choice for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Now that you have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already chosen 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 college is relevant if you will be commuting from Bakersfield CA as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online school. All of these decisions are a critical component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are looking at before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might have 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 working and preps you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you choose 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 school in addition to a guarantee of a superior education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the Bakersfield CA job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of any colleges you are reviewing. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also talk to some Bakersfield CA hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and find out if they can provide any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the California school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Ample Training Provided? First, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with local medical facilities. They are the optimal way to receive hands-on practical training typically not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Bakersfield CA medical community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Landing your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs 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 school has both a good reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Bakersfield CA health care community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's crucial to confirm that the ultimate program you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is especially true if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to attend 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 attend online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is should you need to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Pick the Best Phlebotomist Training near Bakersfield California
Making certain that you choose the right phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care field. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be available in a wide range of academic institutes, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options can vary a bit from state to state as every state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to thoroughly research and compare each program prior to making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the right phlebotomist college for you. And with the proper training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Bakersfield CA.