How to Select the Right Phlebotomy Tech School near Fayetteville AR
Picking the ideal phlebotomy technician school near Fayetteville AR is an essential first step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult undertaking to evaluate and compare all of the school options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's important that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you get a quality education. In fact, most potential students start their search by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another option you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll review more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and should be part of your selection process also. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you pick the best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Tech Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their principal task, there is actually so much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the instruments being utilized are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be properly filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Fayetteville AR laboratories and are accountable for ensuring that samples are tested correctly under the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they may be asked to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The quickest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are many and diverse, including Fayetteville AR hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a certain kind of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients every day.
Phlebotomy Training, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to finish and furnishes a general education together with 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, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they usually require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program furnish a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not mandated in most states, most Fayetteville AR employers require certification prior to employing technicians. Some 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 some states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, such as Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a quality education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Certificates and Degrees
To start with, let's dispel one possible mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial part of the course of study will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical portion of the training may be attended online, it could be a more convenient option for many Fayetteville AR students. As an added benefit, many online schools are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some costs, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomist program you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a quality education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the right choice for you.
Should You Choose a Career as a Phlebotomy Tech?Right out of the gate, few people probably know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have already discussed, the basic definition is a medical professional who draws blood from patients. So naturally anyone who decides to enter this profession must be comfortable with blood and needles. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Fayetteville AR medical facilities, well this profession probably is not right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Techs routinely work around anxious people who don’t like needles or having a blood sample taken. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you may be expected to work weekends, nights and even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the needles and blood, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are patient and compassionate, this could be the right profession for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Now that you have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already picked the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is important if you will be commuting from Fayetteville AR in addition to the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy college. Each of these decisions are an important part of the process for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are reviewing before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for all examinations you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you choose should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Fayetteville AR job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. 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 online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also contact several Fayetteville AR clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the Arkansas school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Ample Training Included? First, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with local healthcare facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on clinical training often not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Fayetteville AR healthcare community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Landing your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Fayetteville AR health care community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to make sure that the final program you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is especially true if you opt to still work while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Fayetteville AR, check that they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is in case you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Pick the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Fayetteville Arkansas
Making certain that you select the right phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomist training programs can be offered in a variety of educational institutions, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings can vary slightly from state to state as each state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to thoroughly screen and compare each school prior to making your ultimate selection. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the best phlebotomy school for you. And with the proper training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Fayetteville AR.