Tiffany Steenburgen said the flexibility, high earnings, and enjoyability of a career in phlebotomy enabled her to go to school and support her family. She graduated from the Kaiser Permanente School of Allied Health Sciences’ Phlebotomy Technician Program in 2010 and worked as a phlebotomist at Kaiser Permanente for 6 years.
“I loved my teachers, the curriculum was great, and it prepared me really well for a career in phlebotomy,” said Steenburgen. “I was hired immediately by Kaiser Permanente after I graduated.”
The phlebotomy program provides education and training in clinical and laboratory settings and prepares students for certification as a phlebotomist technician. No prior experience or college degree is required, only a high school diploma or GED. Applicants must be 18 years or older.
Applications are open now for the program’s summer cohort that begins July 2022. Apply here.
More hands-on experience than competing programs
During the 3-month phlebotomy program, students participate in supervised trainings at Kaiser Permanente’s clinics and processing laboratories practicing venipuncture, skin puncture, specimen processing, and patient registration.
Salim Rafidi, director of the program, said the variety of clinical trainings and amount of required hands-on education sets the program apart.
“We train our students more than any other phlebotomy program available,” he said. “The state requires 40 hours of didactic education and 40 hours of clinical experience while our program provides quadruple at 160 hours for each experience. We are preparing our students for immediate employment.”
“I loved my teachers, the curriculum was great, and it prepared me really well for a career in phlebotomy. I was hired immediately by Kaiser Permanente after I graduated.” – Tiffany Steenburgen
Rafidi said there is currently a shortage of phlebotomists and lab technicians in California and numerous job openings in Northern California. Graduates can work in a hospital or outpatient setting, clinical laboratory, or community health center.
For Steenburgen, her 6-year career as a phlebotomist was a steppingstone. During her time at Kaiser Permanente San Rafael as a phlebotomist she was exposed to microbiology, which sparked her interest in nuclear medicine. She enrolled in the School of Allied Health Sciences’ Nuclear Medicine Program, while continuing to work full time.
“Phlebotomy is a great career for many reasons and a fit for a lot of different people, like me as a full-time student,” she said, adding that there are multiple shifts available. “It can be an introduction into health care or a lifelong career.”
Steenburgen graduated with a B.S. in nuclear medicine in 2016 and now teaches at the School of Allied Health Sciences.
Tuition assistance available
Kaiser Permanente employees represented by the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) may be eligible for 100% tuition assistance through the union’s Education Fund. Employees must be full or part time and have completed their probationary period. Review your benefit options at theedfund.org.
Tuition reimbursement is also available through the Ben Hudnall Memorial Trust. Learn more here. The first step is to schedule a meeting with your manager, who will approve your reimbursement application.
Learn more about the Kaiser Permanente phlebotomy technician program.