How to Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training Course near Conway AR
Selecting the right phlebotomist school near Conway AR is a critical first step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting task to assess and compare all of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's important that you do your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a quality education. In reality, a large number of students start the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Another option you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online schools later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and should be part of your selection process as well. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you select the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomy Tech Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their primary responsibility, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be properly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork must be properly completed 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 can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Conway AR laboratories and are accountable for making sure that samples are analyzed correctly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they might be required to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The quickest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are numerous and diverse, such as Conway AR medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a particular type of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be drawing blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two types of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to complete and furnishes a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program offer a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, most Conway AR employers require certification prior to employing technicians. Some 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 some states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, like Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a quality education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Schools
First, let's resolve one possible misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant portion of the course of study will be practical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed online, it may be a more practical option for many Conway AR students. As an additional benefit, some online colleges are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some costs, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist college you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a superior education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online may be the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Now that you have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already selected the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is important if you will be commuting from Conway AR in addition to the cost of tuition. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online college. All of these decisions are an important component of the process for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are looking at prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Arkansas? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a quality education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Conway AR job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of any colleges you are looking at. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also check with a few Conway AR clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and find out if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the Arkansas school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Adequate Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be working 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 at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internships Provided? Ask the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with area medical facilities. They are the ideal means to receive hands-on practical training typically not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Conway AR medical community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Finding your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Conway AR health care community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's important to confirm that the final program you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your hectic schedule. This is particularly true if you choose to continue working while going to college. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Conway AR, make certain they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option also. Even 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 policy is in case you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Conway Arkansas
Making sure that you choose the ideal phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be available in a variety of educational institutions, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Training program options may differ a bit from state to state as every state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to thoroughly evaluate and compare each school prior to making your final selection. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the ideal phlebotomy college for you. And with the proper education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Conway AR.