How to Choose the Right Phlebotomy Tech Training Program near Conway AR
Choosing the ideal phlebotomy school near Conway AR is an important first step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting undertaking to assess and compare all of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's important that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a quality education. In fact, many potential students start the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional option you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll discuss more about online schools later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also important 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 evaluating to help you select the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomy Technician Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their main responsibility, there is actually far more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the instruments being utilized are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork has to be properly filled out 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 an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Conway AR laboratories and are accountable for making certain that samples are tested properly under the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The easiest response is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are numerous and varied, such as Conway AR medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, 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 kind of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients every day.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to finish and provides a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they normally require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more extensive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not required in most states, a number of Conway AR employers require certification before employing 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 several states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, including California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a superior education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Training
First, let's resolve one possible mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A good portion of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical component of the training can be attended online, it might be a more practical alternative for many Conway AR students. As an added benefit, many online classes are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some costs, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy school you enroll in 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 premium education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Now that you have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is relevant if you will be commuting from Conway AR as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online school. All of these decisions are a critical part of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you should ask about all of the colleges you are looking at before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Arkansas? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed before working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you pick should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Conway AR job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their students as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even contact several Conway AR clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and find out if they can offer 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 full compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out from the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with local medical facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on practical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Conway AR medical community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Getting your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Conway AR medical community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's important to confirm that the final program you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic lifestyle. This is especially true if you opt to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Conway AR, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, confirm 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 policy is in case you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Pick the Right Phlebotomist Training near Conway Arkansas
Making certain that you pick the most suitable phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying health care field. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are found in a number of educational institutes, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive array of programs in medical care and health sciences. Program options can differ somewhat from state to state as every state has its own criteria when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must carefully screen and compare each program prior to making your ultimate choice. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the right phlebotomy school for you. And with the proper education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Conway AR.