How to Select the Right Phlebotomist School near Conway AR
Enrolling in the right phlebotomy school near Conway AR is an important initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting task to analyze and compare each of the school alternatives that are available to you. However it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a superior education. In fact, many potential students begin the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional option you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll review a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and must be part of your decision process too. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you choose the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online classes.
Request Free information on Phlebotomy Training in Your Area
Phlebotomist Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their principal task, there is actually much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork has to be properly completed to be able to track the sample from the point 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 tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Conway AR labs and are in charge of ensuring that samples are tested properly under the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they might be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The simplest response is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are many and varied, such as Conway AR medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be charged to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a specific type of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be drawing 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 blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Training, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two types of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to complete and offers a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they normally require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program furnish a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. While not required in most states, a number of Conway AR employers look for certification before employing technicians. Some 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 in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, including California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's important that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a quality education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Certificates and Degrees
To start with, let's dispel one likely mistaken belief. You can't get 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. Numerous courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed online, it might be a more convenient option for some Conway AR students. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some expenses, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist college you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a superior 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.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Now that you have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus 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 phlebotomy online college. Each of these decisions are an important component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are reviewing prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you select should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a quality education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Conway AR job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal 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 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 internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even contact a few Conway AR clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the Arkansas school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Provided? First, check with 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. 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 below these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out from the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with local medical facilities. They are the optimal way to get hands-on practical training often not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Conway AR healthcare community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning 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 large network of professional contacts within the Conway AR health care community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's crucial to verify that the ultimate school you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is especially true if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evenings 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 as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is in case you need to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Pick the Right Phlebotomist Training near Conway Arkansas
Making sure that you choose the most suitable phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are offered in a wide range of educational institutes, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive range of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options can differ slightly from state to state as every state has its own criteria when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must diligently research and compare each school prior to making your final choice. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the right phlebotomy college for you. And with the proper education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Conway AR.