How to Enroll in the Best Phlebotomist School near Bentonville AR
Picking the right phlebotomy school near Bentonville AR is a critical initial step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult undertaking to analyze and compare all of the training options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you do your due diligence to make certain that you get a superior education. In fact, most potential students begin the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another factor you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll talk a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your decision process too. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you choose the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online schools.
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Phlebotomist Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their principal responsibility, there is actually so much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the tools being used are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork has to be correctly filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory screening process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Bentonville AR laboratories and are responsible for making sure that samples are tested correctly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they might be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The easiest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are numerous and varied, including Bentonville AR medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a specific kind of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be drawing blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to complete and provides a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they normally require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program offer a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not required in the majority of states, a number of Bentonville AR employers require certification before hiring technicians. Some of the principal 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 phlebotomy tech, such as Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a quality education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Schools
To begin with, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial component of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical component of the training can be accessed online, it could be a more practical option for many Bentonville AR students. As an added benefit, some online schools are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomy program you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a premium education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online may be the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
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 might have already chosen the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is significant if you will be commuting from Bentonville AR as well as the cost of tuition. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online college. Each of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are reviewing before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you choose should be accredited by a recognized regional or national 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 an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future employers in the Bentonville AR job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of any colleges you are looking at. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also contact a few Bentonville AR clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and see if they can offer any insights. As a closing thought, you can check with the Arkansas school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Provided? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional healthcare facilities. They are the optimal way to get hands-on clinical training typically not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Bentonville AR healthcare community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Bentonville AR healthcare community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's crucial to verify that the final college you pick offers classes at times that are compatible with your hectic lifestyle. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while going to school. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Bentonville AR, make sure they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option also. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is in case you need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Choose the Best Phlebotomy Training near Bentonville Arkansas
Making sure that you pick the right phlebotomist 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 contribute toward the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomist training programs can be offered in a wide range of academic institutes, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive assortment of programs in medical care and health sciences. Course options can vary a bit from state to state as each state has its own mandates when it comes to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to diligently screen and compare each college prior to making your ultimate choice. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Bentonville AR.