How to Choose the Right Phlebotomy School near Benton AR
Choosing the right phlebotomy technician training near Benton AR is an important initial step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult undertaking to investigate and compare each of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a superior education. In reality, many prospective students begin their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another factor you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and should be part of your decision process too. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select the best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomy Technician Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their principal task, there is actually far more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the tools being used are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be accurately filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab screening 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 pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Benton AR labs and are accountable for ensuring that samples are tested properly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they may be asked to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The simplest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are numerous and diverse, such as Benton AR medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be charged to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a specific kind of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Training, Certification and Licensing
There are basically 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to complete and offers a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program furnish a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. While not mandated in most states, a number of Benton AR employers require certification before hiring technicians. Some of the primary 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, including California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a premium education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Schools
First, let's resolve one possible misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant part of the course of study will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical part of the training can be accessed online, it can be a more convenient option for many Benton AR students. As an added benefit, a number of online schools are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some costs, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy college you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Now that you have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already picked the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is important if you will be commuting from Benton AR as well as the cost of tuition. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. Each of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you should ask about each of the colleges you are looking at prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be working and prepares you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you pick should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a premium education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Benton AR 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 those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check out the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. 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 screen online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also contact some Benton AR hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and find out if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the Arkansas school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Ample Training Provided? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Provided? Find out from the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with local health care facilities. They are the optimal way to obtain hands-on clinical training often not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Benton AR health care community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Finding your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Benton AR health care community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's important to make sure that the ultimate school you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your hectic lifestyle. This is particularly important if you opt to still work while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Benton AR, make sure they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option also. Even if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Choose the Best Phlebotomy Training near Benton Arkansas
Making certain that you choose the ideal phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care field. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomy training programs are offered in a wide range of academic institutions, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive array of programs in medical care and health sciences. Course options can vary somewhat from state to state as every state has its own requirements when it pertains to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must diligently research and compare each school before making your final selection. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the best phlebotomist program for you. And with the appropriate training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Benton AR.