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Become a Phlebotomist in Fort Smith Arkansas

How to Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Fort Smith AR

Fort Smith AR phlebotomist drawing bloodEnrolling in the right phlebotomy technician training near Fort Smith AR is an essential initial step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting task to investigate and compare each of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you get a quality education. In reality, a large number of students begin their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online schools later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and should be part of your decision process as well. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you select the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online classes.

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Phlebotomy Technician Work Description

Fort Smith AR phlebotomist laboratory techA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their principal duty, there is actually far more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the tools being employed are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample needs to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork needs to be properly completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab 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 accountable for making sure that samples are analyzed properly under the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they may be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.

Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?

The simplest response is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are many and diverse, such as Fort Smith AR medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be charged to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a certain type of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be collecting blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. 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 different patients every day.

Phlebotomist Training, Certification and Licensing

blood analysis performed in Fort Smith AR labThere are essentially two kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to complete and provides a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they normally require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program furnish a more expansive background in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, most Fort Smith AR employers look for certification before hiring technicians. Some of the principal certifying organizations 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a quality education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.

Phlebotomy Online Schools

Fort Smith Arkansas student attending phlebotomy training onlineTo begin with, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant component of the course of study will be practical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed online, it might be a more practical option for some Fort Smith AR students. As an additional benefit, some online colleges are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some costs, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy program you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a superior education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online might be the ideal option for you.

Points to Ask Phlebotomy Programs

Since you now have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already picked the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is significant if you will be commuting from Fort Smith AR as well as the cost of tuition. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the colleges you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision.

Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be working and preps you for any examinations you may be required to take.

Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you select should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited school 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 previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Fort Smith AR job market.

What is the Program's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of any schools you are considering. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also talk to a few Fort Smith AR hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and find out if they can provide any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the Arkansas school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.

Is Plenty of Training Included? First, check with the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. At 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 clinical training. Anything less than these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.

Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with area medical facilities. They are the optimal means to get hands-on clinical training often not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Fort Smith AR health care community. And they are a plus on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Help Available? Finding your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Fort Smith AR healthcare community.

Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to verify that the final school you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your active schedule. This is particularly true if you decide to still work while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Fort Smith AR, check that they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option also. And if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is in case you need to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.

Choose the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Fort Smith Arkansas

Fort Smith AR phlebotomist laboratory blood testingMaking certain that you pick the most suitable phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding health care field. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are available in a variety of educational institutions, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive assortment of programs in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings can differ a bit across the country as every state has its own mandates when it comes to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to thoroughly evaluate and compare each college before making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the best phlebotomist college for you. And with the proper training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Fort Smith AR.