How to Enroll in the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Conway AR
Choosing the right phlebotomist school near Conway AR is an essential initial step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging undertaking to assess and compare each of the training alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a quality education. In fact, most prospective students begin their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional option you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll review more about online classes later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is much 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 need to be part of your decision process as well. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you select the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online classes.
Request Free information on Phlebotomy Training in Your Area
Phlebotomy Tech Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary responsibility, there is actually much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the instruments being utilized are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork has to be properly filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab screening procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Conway AR labs and are accountable for making certain that samples are analyzed correctly under the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they can be required to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The simplest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are many and diverse, including Conway AR medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be charged to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a specific type of patient. For instance, those practicing 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 collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Training, Licensing and Certification
There are basically two types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to finish and offers a basic education as well as 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 phlebotomist degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they typically take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program provide a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not mandated in most states, a number of Conway AR employers look for certification prior to employing technicians. A few of the main certifying organizations include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are a few states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's important that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a quality education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Colleges
First, let's resolve one possible misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant part of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical part of the training can be attended online, it can be a more convenient option for some Conway AR students. As an added benefit, many online colleges are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenditures, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomy school you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the ideal option for you.
Should You Go to School to Become a Phlebotomy Technician?Right out of the gate, not many people probably know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have previously discussed, the short definition is a medical professional who draws blood from patients. So of course anyone who decides to enter this profession must be OK around blood and needles. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Conway AR medical environments, well this profession probably is not the best choice for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians often work with nervous people who don’t like needles or having their blood drawn. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably be required to work weekends, nights and even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the needles and blood, and if you enjoy helping people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the perfect profession for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Now that you have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already decided on 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 college is significant if you will be commuting from Conway AR as well as the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online school. All of these decisions are an important component of the process for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Arkansas? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a quality education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future employers in the Conway AR job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also talk to several Conway AR clinics or hospitals that you may be interested 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 ask if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Ample 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 classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with local health care facilities. They are the ideal means to obtain hands-on clinical training often not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Conway AR health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Available? Landing your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Conway AR health care community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to confirm that the ultimate school you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your hectic lifestyle. This is especially important if you opt to still work while going to college. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Conway AR, make sure they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is should you need to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Choose the Best Phlebotomy Training near Conway Arkansas
Making sure that you enroll in the right phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying health care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomist training programs can be available in a number of academic institutes, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide assortment of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings may vary slightly from state to state as each state has its own prerequisites when it comes to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must diligently research and compare each college prior to making your ultimate choice. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the best phlebotomy program for you. And with the appropriate training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Conway AR.