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Become a Phlebotomist in Fort Smith Arkansas

How to Find the Best Phlebotomy Technician Training Course near Fort Smith AR

Fort Smith AR phlebotomy tech drawing blood from patientPicking the ideal phlebotomist school near Fort Smith AR is an essential initial step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting task to evaluate and compare each of the school alternatives that are available to you. However it's important that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a superior education. In fact, many students begin the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional option you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll discuss more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and must be part of your decision process as well. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you select the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online training.

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Phlebotomy Technician Job Summary

Fort Smith AR phlebotomist lab technicianA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their principal function, there is actually much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be properly completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory screening process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Fort Smith AR laboratories and are responsible for making certain that samples are tested correctly under the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they can be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.

Where are Phlebotomists Employed?

The quickest response is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are many and diverse, such as Fort Smith AR hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a specific kind of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only 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, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients every day.

Phlebotomist Education, Licensing and Certification

blood analysis done in Fort Smith AR labThere are basically 2 types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to finish and provides a general 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, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they typically take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program offer a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not required in most states, a number of Fort Smith AR employers require certification prior to hiring 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 a few states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you pick a phlebotomist 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 Phlebotomist Schools

Fort Smith AR woman attending phlebotomy training onlineTo begin with, let's dispel one likely mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial component of the program of studies 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. But since the non-practical part of the training can be attended online, it can be a more practical alternative for many Fort Smith AR students. As an additional benefit, many online schools are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomy program you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a superior education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the best option for you.

Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Schools

Now that you have a basic 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 want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is significant if you will be commuting from Fort Smith AR as well as the cost of tuition. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. All of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about each of the colleges you are looking at before making your ultimate decision.

Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Arkansas? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. 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 be required to take.

Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a premium education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Fort Smith AR job market.

What is the Program's Ranking? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, 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 requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even contact several Fort Smith AR hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the Arkansas school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.

Is Ample Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide sufficient training.

Are Internship Programs Included? Ask the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional health care facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on practical training often not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Fort Smith AR health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Fort Smith AR health care community.

Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's important to verify that the ultimate program you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is especially important if you choose to still work while attending school. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Fort Smith AR, make sure they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is should you have to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.

Pick the Best Phlebotomy Training near Fort Smith Arkansas

Fort Smith AR phlebotomist laboratory blood testingMaking sure that you select the right phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be offered in a variety of educational institutions, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive range of programs in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings may vary a bit across the country as each state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to carefully research and compare each school before making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the right phlebotomy program for you. And with the appropriate training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Fort Smith AR.