How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy School near Bentonville AR
Picking the right phlebotomist training near Bentonville AR is an important first step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging task to evaluate and compare each of the school alternatives that are available to you. However it's important that you do your due diligence to ensure that you get a superior education. In reality, most prospective students begin the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional option you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll talk a bit more about online schools later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and need to 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 evaluating to help you pick the best one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Tech Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their main responsibility, there is in fact far more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be properly filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing 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 pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Bentonville AR labs and are in charge of ensuring that samples are tested properly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they can be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The easiest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are many and varied, such as Bentonville AR hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be charged to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a certain type of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be collecting blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients every day.
Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially two types of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to complete and provides 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 specifically a phlebotomy degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they normally require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more extensive background in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not required in most states, many Bentonville AR employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. A few of the primary 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 in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, like Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's important that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a premium education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Training
To start with, let's dispel one likely mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant component of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be performed 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 part of the training can be accessed online, it may be a more practical alternative for some Bentonville AR students. As an additional benefit, some online colleges are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some expenses, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomy program you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a quality education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the ideal option for you.
Should You Go to School to Become a Phlebotomy Tech?Right out of the gate, few people probably know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have already discussed, the short definition is a health care professional whose job is to draw blood. So of course anyone who selects this profession must be comfortable with needles and blood. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Bentonville AR medical facilities, well this profession probably is not the best choice for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians routinely work around nervous people who don’t like needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably be expected to work weekends, evenings and even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the needles and blood, and if you enjoy helping people and are patient and compassionate, this could be the right profession for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Now that you have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already decided on the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is important if you will be commuting from Bentonville AR in addition to the cost of tuition. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. Each of these decisions are an important component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. 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 practicing and prepares you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to a guarantee of a quality education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited schools. Last, 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 many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check out the reputations of any colleges you are reviewing. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also talk to several Bentonville AR hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Arkansas school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Ample Training Provided? First, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internships Provided? Ask the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with area healthcare facilities. They are the optimal way to get hands-on practical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Bentonville AR healthcare community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Bentonville AR health care community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? And last, it's crucial to make sure that the final school you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your hectic lifestyle. This is especially true if you opt to continue working while going to school. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Bentonville AR, make certain they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is in case you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Training near Bentonville Arkansas
Making certain that you pick the ideal phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be available in a wide range of academic institutes, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program options can vary a bit across the country as each state has its own requirements when it concerns phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must carefully screen and compare each program before making your final choice. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomist school for you. And with the proper training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Bentonville AR.