How to Choose the Right Phlebotomy School near Conway AR
Choosing the right phlebotomist school near Conway AR is a critical initial step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting undertaking to assess and compare all of the training options that are accessible to you. However it's vital that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you receive a superior education. In fact, most students start the process by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another factor you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll review a bit more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and should be part of your selection process also. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you should 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 address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Tech Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their principal task, there is actually so much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the tools being utilized are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork has to be accurately filled out in order to track the sample from the point 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 can be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Conway AR labs and are accountable for ensuring that samples are tested properly under the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be required to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The easiest response is wherever there are patients. Their work places are many and varied, including Conway AR medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a specific kind of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to finish and furnishes a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they normally require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not required in the majority of states, most Conway AR employers require certification prior to employing technicians. A few of the main 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 phlebotomy tech, including California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a superior education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Schools
To begin with, let's resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant component of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical portion of the training can be attended online, it could be a more convenient option for some Conway AR students. As an added benefit, many online classes are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenditures, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomy school you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a premium education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
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 may 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 college is relevant if you will be commuting from Conway AR as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online school. All of these decisions are an important part of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Following are several questions that you need to ask about each of the colleges you are looking at prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Arkansas? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing 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 practicing and readies you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you pick should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited school in addition to a guarantee of a quality education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to future employers in the Conway AR job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's essential to check out the reputations of any schools you are considering. 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 even check with several Conway AR hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and see if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the Arkansas school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Adequate Training Included? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with regional health care facilities. They are the ideal means to obtain hands-on clinical training frequently not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Conway AR healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Finding your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Conway AR healthcare community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to confirm that the final school you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Conway AR, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify 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 completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is in case you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Training near Conway Arkansas
Making certain that you select the right phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying health care field. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomist training programs can be available in a variety of educational institutes, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive assortment of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Course options may differ a bit from state to state as every state has its own requirements when it concerns phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must diligently evaluate and compare each program before making your final selection. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the best phlebotomist program for you. And with the appropriate education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Conway AR.