How to Find the Best Phlebotomy Technician School near Conway AR
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomy training near Conway AR is an important first step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting undertaking to investigate and compare all of the school options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you receive a quality education. In reality, many students begin their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another factor you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll review a bit more about online schools later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your selection process too. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you pick the best one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their primary function, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be properly completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Conway AR laboratories and are in charge of making certain that samples are tested correctly under the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The easiest response is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, such as Conway AR medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a certain type of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be drawing blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients each day.
Phlebotomist Training, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially 2 kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to complete and provides a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program offer a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will probably want to be certified. While not mandated in most states, many Conway AR employers look for certification before hiring technicians. Some 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 some states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, like California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a quality education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Colleges
To start with, let's dispel one possible misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A good portion of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical part of the training can be attended online, it could be a more convenient alternative for some Conway AR students. As an added benefit, some online schools are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some costs, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy school you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a premium education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online might be the best choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Since you now have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the kind 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 relevant if you will be commuting from Conway AR in addition to the tuition expense. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online program. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are looking at before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be working and preps you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited school in addition to a guarantee of a superior education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited programs. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Conway AR job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. 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 place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even contact several Conway AR hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the Arkansas school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Included? First, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internships Provided? Find out from the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with regional medical facilities. They are the optimal way to obtain hands-on clinical training often not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Conway AR medical community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Conway AR health care community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? And last, it's critical to verify that the final college you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your hectic lifestyle. This is particularly true if you choose to still work while going to school. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Conway AR, check that they are offered 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 practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist Training near Conway Arkansas
Making certain that you select the most suitable phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care field. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomist training programs can be offered in a number of academic institutions, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Training program options may vary somewhat from state to state as every state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to thoroughly evaluate and compare each program before making your ultimate choice. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomist program for you. And with the appropriate training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Conway AR.