How to Find the Best Phlebotomy School near Bakersfield CA
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomist training near Bakersfield CA is an important first step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult undertaking to analyze and compare each of the training alternatives that are available to you. However it's important that you do your due diligence to make certain that you get a superior education. In fact, most prospective students begin their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first 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 talk a bit more about online classes later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and must be part of your selection process as well. Toward that end, we will supply 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 afterwards continue our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Technician Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their primary function, there is actually much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the instruments being utilized are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork needs to be correctly completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing process. The phlebotomist then delivers 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 actually work in Bakersfield CA labs and are accountable for making sure that samples are analyzed correctly utilizing the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they may be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The easiest response is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are many and varied, including Bakersfield CA hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a specific type of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily two kinds of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically 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 means to becoming a phlebotomist. 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 normally require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program furnish a more expansive background in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. While not mandated in most states, a number of Bakersfield CA employers require certification prior to employing technicians. A few of the main 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 require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, like Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a quality education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Classes
First, let's dispel one possible misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A good portion of the course of study will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical component of the training may be attended online, it might be a more convenient alternative for some Bakersfield CA students. As an added benefit, many online programs are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenses, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist college you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a quality education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online might be the best choice for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Since you now have a basic 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 kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. 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 online phlebotomist program. Each of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at 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 Specific to Your State? 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 amount 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 very important to select a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and preps you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you select should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many 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 be able to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited programs. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future employers in the Bakersfield CA job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of all schools you are looking at. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also contact some Bakersfield CA hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and see if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the California school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Included? To begin with, 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 phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out from the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional health care facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on clinical training typically not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Bakersfield CA medical community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Getting your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher 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 healthcare community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's crucial to verify that the final school you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Bakersfield CA, make certain they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend 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 should you have to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Bakersfield California
Making sure that you enroll in the most suitable phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare field. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be available in a wide range of educational institutions, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options can differ somewhat across the country as every state has its own requirements when it comes to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to diligently evaluate and compare each program prior to making your final selection. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the best phlebotomy school for you. And with the proper training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Bakersfield CA.