How to Select the Best Phlebotomist School near Fayetteville AR
Choosing the right phlebotomy school near Fayetteville AR is an important initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult task to assess and compare each of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you receive a superior education. In fact, most prospective students begin their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional option you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll talk more about online classes later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and need to be part of your decision process too. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you choose the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomist Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their principal function, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork must be correctly completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers 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 actually work in Fayetteville AR labs and are accountable for making certain that samples are tested correctly under the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they can be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The quickest response is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are many and diverse, including Fayetteville AR hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be charged to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to seniors. 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 collecting 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 collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
There are basically two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to complete and furnishes a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program provide a more extensive background in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, most Fayetteville AR employers look for certification prior to 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 several states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, including Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a quality education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Colleges
First, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant part of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed online, it might be a more practical alternative for some Fayetteville AR students. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some costs, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered 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 later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a quality education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the best option for you.
Should You Go to School to Become a Phlebotomy Tech?First of all, not many people are likely to know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have previously discussed, the short definition is a medical professional who draws blood from patients. So of course anyone who decides to enter this profession must be comfortable with needles and blood. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Fayetteville AR medical environments, well this job may not be right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Techs routinely work around nervous people who don’t like needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you will probably be expected to work weekends, evenings and even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the blood and needles, and if you enjoy helping people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the perfect profession for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Now that you have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is relevant if you will be commuting from Fayetteville AR as well as the cost of tuition. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online college. Each of these decisions are an important part of the process for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are reviewing before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you choose should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Fayetteville AR job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even contact a few Fayetteville 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 find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Adequate Training Provided? 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 clinical and classroom. At 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 practical training. Anything less than these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Find out from the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with area medical facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on clinical training often not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Fayetteville AR medical community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Finding your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Fayetteville AR health care community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to verify that the final college you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is especially important if you opt to still work while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Fayetteville AR, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, verify 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 ask what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomist Training near Fayetteville Arkansas
Making certain that you enroll in the ideal phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare field. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomy training programs are available in a wide range of academic institutes, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program options may vary slightly across the country as each state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must carefully research and compare each program before making your final decision. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the ideal phlebotomy school for you. And with the appropriate education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Fayetteville AR.