How to Select the Best Phlebotomy School near Fayetteville AR
Choosing the ideal phlebotomist school near Fayetteville AR is an essential initial step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult undertaking to evaluate and compare all of the school alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you do your due diligence to make sure that you get a superior education. In fact, most prospective students begin their search by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll review more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and need to be part of your selection process as well. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you pick the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their primary duty, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the instruments being used are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork must be properly filled out to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Fayetteville AR laboratories and are accountable for ensuring that samples are tested properly under the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The most basic response is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are numerous and diverse, such as Fayetteville AR hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a particular kind of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be drawing blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially two kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree 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 offers the quickest 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 phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program provide a more expansive background in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not mandated in most states, a number of Fayetteville AR employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. Some of the primary 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 call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, like Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a quality education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Certificates and Degrees
To begin with, let's dispel one possible mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial part of the program of studies will be clinical 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-clinical part of the training can be accessed online, it could be a more practical option for many Fayetteville AR students. As an additional benefit, some online classes are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some costs, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist college you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the best option for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Now that you have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may 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. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online school. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are looking at before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you select should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future employers in the Fayetteville AR job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of all 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 internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also check with some Fayetteville AR hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and see if they can provide any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the Arkansas school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Ample Training Provided? First, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with area healthcare facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on practical training typically not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Fayetteville AR healthcare community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Landing your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Fayetteville AR health care community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's critical to make sure that the ultimate school you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Fayetteville AR, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, confirm 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 fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Choose the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Fayetteville Arkansas
Making sure that you pick the right phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding health care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomist training programs are available in a number of educational institutes, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive range of programs in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings can vary a bit across the country as every state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must carefully screen and compare each program before making your final selection. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the right phlebotomist college for you. And with the proper education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Fayetteville AR.