How to Select the Right Phlebotomy Technician School near Benton AR
Picking the right phlebotomy training near Benton AR is an important initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging task to analyze and compare each of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you get a quality education. In reality, most students start the process by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another option you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll talk a bit more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your decision process also. Toward that end, we will furnish 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 cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomist Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their primary function, there is actually so much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork needs to be accurately filled out to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory screening procedure. 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. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Benton AR labs and are in charge of making sure that samples are analyzed properly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they might be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The simplest answer is wherever there are patients. Their work places are numerous and diverse, such as Benton AR medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a specific type of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be collecting blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to finish and provides a general education as well as 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 phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program offer a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, a number of Benton AR employers look for certification before hiring technicians. A few of the key 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 call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, like California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a premium education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Classes
To start with, let's resolve one possible misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A good portion of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical part of the training can be attended online, it might be a more convenient option for some Benton AR students. As an added benefit, many online classes are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some costs, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist school you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a superior education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the best option for you.
Should You Become a Phlebotomy Tech?First of all, few people are likely to know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have previously discussed, the short definition is a health care professional who draws blood from patients. So naturally anyone who selects this profession must be comfortable with needles and blood. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Benton AR medical environments, well this profession probably is not the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians routinely work with anxious people who don’t like needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably be required to work weekends, nights and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the blood and needles, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the perfect profession for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Now that you have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the type of program you want 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 Benton AR in addition to the tuition expense. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online college. Each of these decisions are an important part of the process for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the colleges you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be working and readies you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you select should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future employers in the Benton AR job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In numerous 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 imperative to check out the reputations of any colleges you are reviewing. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even check with some Benton AR hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the Arkansas school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Provided? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Find out from the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with area health care facilities. They are the optimal means to get hands-on clinical training often not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Benton AR healthcare community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Finding your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation as well as a substantial 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 final program you pick offers classes at times that are compatible with your hectic schedule. This is particularly true if you decide to still work while attending school. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Benton AR, make certain they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option as well. Even 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 policy is in case you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Benton Arkansas
Making sure that you select the most suitable phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomist training programs are available in a number of academic institutes, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide array of programs in medical care and health sciences. Program options may vary a bit from state to state as each state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical 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 narrow down your choices so that you can pick the best phlebotomy school for you. And with the proper education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Benton AR.