How to Pick the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Conway AR
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomy technician school near Conway AR is a critical first step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult task to investigate and compare all of the school options that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you do your due diligence to make certain that you get a superior education. In reality, a large number of potential students start their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another option you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll review a bit 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 variables including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and must be part of your decision process too. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomist Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary responsibility, there is actually so much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork needs to be properly completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Conway AR laboratories and are accountable for making sure that samples are tested correctly under the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be required to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The simplest answer is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are many and diverse, such as Conway AR medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a particular type of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be drawing blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily two types of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to complete and provides a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they typically require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program provide a more expansive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, a number of Conway AR employers require certification prior to 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, including California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a superior education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Certificates and Degrees
To start with, let's resolve one possible mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A good part of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical part of the training can be accessed online, it might be a more practical alternative for many Conway AR students. As an additional benefit, some online colleges are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenses, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomy school you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Since you now have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already selected 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 college is important if you will be commuting from Conway AR in addition to the tuition expense. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy college. 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 making your decision. Following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are looking at before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Arkansas? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be working and readies you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Last, 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 School'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 imperative to check out the reputations of all schools you are reviewing. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer 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 also check with a few Conway AR hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and see if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Arkansas school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Provided? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internships Included? Ask the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with area health care facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on clinical training often not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Conway AR medical community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Conway AR medical community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's crucial to confirm that the ultimate school you choose provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is particularly important if you choose to still work while attending college. If you need to 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 on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option also. 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 in case you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training near Conway Arkansas
Making sure that you select the most suitable phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomy training programs can be found in a wide range of academic institutes, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options can vary somewhat across the country as every state has its own prerequisites when it comes to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to diligently evaluate and compare each school before making your ultimate choice. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomy program for you. And with the proper education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Conway AR.