How to Select the Best Phlebotomy Technician Training Program near Bakersfield CA
Selecting the right phlebotomy school near Bakersfield CA is an essential initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging task to analyze and compare all of the training options that are accessible to you. However it's vital that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a superior education. In reality, a large number of potential students begin their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll talk a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest 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 supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you choose the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomist Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their primary responsibility, there is actually 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. Following the collection, the sample needs to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork must be properly filled out to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing procedure. 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 in fact work in Bakersfield CA laboratories and are responsible for ensuring that samples are tested correctly under the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they can be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The easiest response is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, such as Bakersfield CA hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be charged to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a particular type of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing 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 Training, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to finish and provides a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they typically take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program provide a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. Although not mandated in most states, many Bakersfield CA employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. A few of the key 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 in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, like Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a quality education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Training
To begin with, let's dispel one possible mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant portion of the curriculum will be clinical 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. However since the non-practical portion of the training can be attended online, it can be a more practical option for many Bakersfield CA students. As an added benefit, some online schools are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenditures, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist school you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a premium education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Now that you have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already selected the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is important if you will be commuting from Bakersfield CA as well as the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy program. Each of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are reviewing before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to California? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for California or the state where you will be working and preps you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you pick should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are typically not available for non-accredited colleges. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Bakersfield CA job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of any schools you are looking at. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also check with a few Bakersfield CA hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and see if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the California school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Ample Training Provided? First, contact the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with regional healthcare facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on clinical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Bakersfield CA healthcare community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Available? Landing your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Bakersfield CA medical community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? Finally, it's important to verify that the ultimate school you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you opt to still work while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Bakersfield CA, check that they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option as well. And if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is should you need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Pick the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Bakersfield California
Making certain that you pick the right phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care field. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomy training programs can be available in a variety of academic institutes, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Course offerings may vary somewhat from state to state as every state has its own criteria when it pertains to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must thoroughly evaluate and compare each school prior to making your final selection. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the best phlebotomist college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Bakersfield CA.