How to Select the Best Phlebotomy Tech School near Conway AR
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomy training near Conway AR is an important first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging undertaking to investigate and compare all of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you get a quality education. In fact, a large number of students begin the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another option you may look into is whether to attend online classes 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 much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and must be part of your selection process too. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you choose the right one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomist Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their primary responsibility, there is actually so much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the tools being utilized are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork has to be accurately completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Conway AR labs and are responsible for ensuring that samples are analyzed correctly under the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they may be required to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The easiest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are numerous and varied, including Conway AR hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be charged to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a specific type of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be drawing blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomy 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 means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program offer a more extensive background in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, a number of Conway AR employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. A few of the key 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 essential that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a superior education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Colleges
First, let's resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial portion of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical part of the training can be accessed online, it could be a more practical option for some Conway AR students. As an additional benefit, a number of online classes are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenses, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist program you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the ideal option for you.
Should You Go to School to Become a Phlebotomy Tech?Right out of the gate, not many people are likely to know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have already discussed, the short answer is a health care professional whose job is to draw blood. So naturally anyone who decides to enter this profession must be OK around needles and blood. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Conway AR medical environments, well this job probably is not the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Techs often work around anxious people who hate needles or having a blood sample taken. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you may be required to work weekends, evenings and even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the needles and blood, and if you enjoy helping people and are patient and compassionate, this could be the perfect profession for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Since you now have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college 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 online phlebotomist school. All of these decisions are an important component of the process for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Arkansas? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be working and prepares you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you select should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a superior 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 earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to future employers in the Conway AR job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to investigate the reputations of any colleges you are considering. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even check with some Conway AR clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the Arkansas school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Provided? To begin with, check with 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 looking at should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide sufficient 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 receive hands-on practical training often not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Conway AR healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Getting your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, 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 healthcare community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? And last, it's important to make sure that the ultimate program you pick offers classes at times that are compatible with your hectic lifestyle. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night 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 also. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is in case you have to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Choose the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Conway Arkansas
Making certain that you pick the most suitable phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are available in a variety of educational institutions, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide array of programs in medical care and health sciences. Training program options may vary somewhat from state to state as every state has its own prerequisites when it concerns phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must diligently research and compare each college prior to making your ultimate decision. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the best phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Conway AR.