How to Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Benton AR
Picking the right phlebotomy technician school near Benton AR is an important first step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging task to assess and compare all of the training options that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you do your due diligence to make sure that you get a quality education. In fact, most students start their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another option you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll talk more about online schools later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and must be part of your decision process as well. 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 choose the best one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online classes.
Request Free information on Phlebotomy Training in Your Area
Phlebotomy Tech Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main task, there is actually much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be correctly filled out to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Benton AR labs and are accountable for ensuring that samples are tested properly utilizing the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The easiest response is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are numerous and diverse, including Benton AR medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a certain type of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Education, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially two types of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to complete and offers a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program provide a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. Although not required in most states, a number of Benton AR 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 phlebotomist, including Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a quality education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Training
First, let's resolve one possible misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant part of the course of study 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 in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical component of the training can be attended online, it could be a more practical option for some Benton AR students. As an added benefit, many online classes are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomist school you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a quality education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the ideal option for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Now that you have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already picked the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is important if you will be commuting from Benton AR in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy program. Each of these decisions are an important part of the process for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are looking at before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Arkansas? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be working and readies you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you select should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a premium education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are typically not available for non-accredited programs. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Benton AR job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, 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 colleges 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 screen online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even contact some Benton AR clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and find out if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the Arkansas school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Included? First, check with 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 (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with area medical facilities. They are the optimal way to receive hands-on practical training often not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Benton AR health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Landing your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Benton AR healthcare community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? Finally, it's critical to confirm that the ultimate school you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Benton AR, make certain they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option as well. And if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is in case you have to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Pick the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Benton Arkansas
Making certain that you choose the most suitable phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomy training programs can be found in a number of educational institutes, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program options may differ slightly across the country as each state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must thoroughly evaluate and compare each college before making your final selection. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomy program for you. And with the proper training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Benton AR.