How to Choose the Right Phlebotomy Tech Training Program near Fayetteville AR
Choosing the ideal phlebotomy technician school near Fayetteville AR is a critical initial step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult task to evaluate and compare all of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's vital that you do your due diligence to make sure that you receive a quality education. In fact, many potential students start their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional factor you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online schools later in this article. What you need to remember 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 need to be part of your decision process also. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you pick the best one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomist Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their primary responsibility, there is in fact far more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be properly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be correctly completed 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 in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Fayetteville AR laboratories and are in charge of ensuring that samples are tested properly using the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they may be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The simplest response is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are many and varied, such as Fayetteville AR medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a certain kind of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be drawing blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to finish and furnishes a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest method 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 on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program provide a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not mandated in most states, many Fayetteville AR employers look for certification before employing technicians. A few of the main 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 call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, like Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a quality education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Classes
To begin with, let's resolve one possible misconception. 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 performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical part of the training can be accessed online, it could be a more practical option for some Fayetteville AR students. As an added benefit, many online colleges are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenses, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist school you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a quality education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Now that you have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin 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 previously mentioned, the location of the college is significant if you will be commuting from Fayetteville AR in addition to the tuition expense. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. All of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you pick should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a quality education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Fayetteville AR job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of any colleges you are looking at. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also contact a few Fayetteville AR hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and find out if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the Arkansas school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Ample Training Included? To begin with, check with 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. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should provide 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 comprehensive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with local health care facilities. They are the optimal way to receive hands-on clinical training often not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Fayetteville AR health care community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Landing your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the schools 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 school has both an excellent reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Fayetteville AR healthcare community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's crucial to make sure that the final college you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is particularly important if you opt to still work while attending school. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Fayetteville AR, make sure they are offered at those times. Also, 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 certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is should you have to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Choose the Right Phlebotomy Training near Fayetteville Arkansas
Making sure that you choose the most suitable phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding health care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomy training programs can be found in a wide range of educational institutions, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings may vary somewhat from state to state as each state has its own prerequisites when it pertains to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to carefully research and compare each school before making your ultimate choice. By addressing 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 appropriate education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Fayetteville AR.