How to Select the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Conway AR
Enrolling in the right phlebotomist school near Conway AR is an essential initial step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting task to analyze and compare all of the school options that are available to you. However it's important that you do your due diligence to make certain that you get a quality education. In reality, many prospective students begin the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Another option you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll review a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your decision 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 assessing to help you pick the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomist Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their principal responsibility, there is actually much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork has to be correctly filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab screening procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Conway AR labs and are in charge of making sure that samples are analyzed correctly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they might be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The most basic response is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are numerous and varied, including Conway AR hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a particular kind of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily two kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to finish and provides a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program offer a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will probably want to be certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, many Conway AR employers look for certification before hiring technicians. A few of the principal certifying agencies 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 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 imperative that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a superior education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Classes
To start with, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A good component of the course of study will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical part of the training can be accessed online, it could be a more practical option for many Conway AR students. As an additional benefit, a number of online classes are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomist program you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the right choice for you.
Should You Become a Plebotomist?First of all, not many people are likely to know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have previously discussed, the basic answer is a health care professional whose job is to draw blood. So naturally anyone who selects this profession must be OK around needles and blood. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Conway AR medical environments, well this profession may not be right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomists routinely work with nervous people who hate needles or having their blood taken. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you will probably be expected to work weekends, nights and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the blood and needles, and if you enjoy helping people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the perfect job for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Since you now 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 decided on the kind of program you want 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 as well as the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online college. Each of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you need to ask about each of the colleges you are considering before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed before working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be working and prepares you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you choose should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a superior education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Conway AR job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of any schools you are looking at. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even contact a few Conway AR hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and find out 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 filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Included? First, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out from the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with area healthcare facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on clinical training typically not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Conway AR medical community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Finding your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Conway AR healthcare community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's critical to verify that the final program you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is particularly true if you opt to continue working while going to college. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Conway AR, check that 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 certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is should you have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Pick the Best Phlebotomy Training near Conway Arkansas
Making sure that you enroll in the right phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying health care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomy training programs are found in a number of academic institutions, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive range of programs in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings can differ somewhat from state to state as every state has its own prerequisites when it comes to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to carefully screen and compare each program prior to making your final decision. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the ideal phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Conway AR.