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Become a Phlebotomist in Fort Smith Arkansas

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

Fort Smith AR phlebotomist drawing blood from patientSelecting the right phlebotomy technician school near Fort Smith AR is an essential initial step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting task to evaluate and compare all of the school options that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's important that you do your due diligence to make certain that you receive a superior education. In fact, many potential students begin their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional factor you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll discuss more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and need to 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 right one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online schools.

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Phlebotomist Career Summary

Fort Smith AR phlebotomist lab technicianA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their main duty, there is actually far more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the instruments being utilized are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork needs to be properly completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Fort Smith AR laboratories and are in charge of making sure that samples are tested correctly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they might be called upon 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 work environments are numerous and diverse, such as Fort Smith AR hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a specific kind of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home 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 solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients on a daily basis.

Phlebotomist Training, Certification and Licensing

blood analysis performed in Fort Smith AR laboratoryThere are primarily two types of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to complete and offers a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest route 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 phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they typically require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program offer a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will probably want to get certified. While not required in the majority of states, many Fort Smith AR employers require certification prior to employing 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 require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, such as Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a quality education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.

Online Phlebotomist Classes

Fort Smith Arkansas student attending phlebotomy school onlineFirst, let's resolve one possible mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A good component of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical component of the training can be attended online, it can be a more practical option for many Fort Smith AR students. As an additional benefit, many online schools are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced also. Just verify that the online phlebotomist program you select 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 superior education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the best choice for you.

Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges

Since you now have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start 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 mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is significant if you will be commuting from Fort Smith AR as well as the cost of tuition. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online school. 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 making your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection.

Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be working and readies you for any examinations you may be required to take.

Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you choose should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a superior education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Finally, 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 School's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their students as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even talk to several Fort Smith AR hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and see 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 colleges are in full compliance.

Is Plenty of 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 phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide sufficient training.

Are Internships Provided? Find out from the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with regional medical facilities. They are the optimal means to get hands-on practical training typically not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Fort Smith AR health care community. And they are a plus on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Help Provided? Getting your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Fort Smith AR healthcare community.

Are Classes Available as Needed? And last, it's critical to confirm that the final college you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is particularly true if you choose to still work while going to college. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Fort Smith AR, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is should you need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.

Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Training near Fort Smith Arkansas

Fort Smith AR phlebotomy lab blood testingMaking certain that you select the most suitable phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be offered in a variety of educational institutes, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide range of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program options may vary a bit across the country as every state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must diligently research and compare each college prior to making your final decision. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the best phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Fort Smith AR.