How to Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Tech School near Fort Smith AR
Selecting the ideal phlebotomist school near Fort Smith AR is a critical first step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging task to evaluate and compare each of the training options that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a quality education. In reality, most prospective students start their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional factor you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll review a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and need to be part of your decision process also. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you choose the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their main responsibility, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the instruments being used are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be correctly filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab screening procedure. 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 pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Fort Smith AR labs and are in charge of ensuring that samples are tested properly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they may be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The easiest response is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, including Fort Smith AR medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a certain type of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Training, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree 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 offers the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they typically require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program provide a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not mandated in most states, a number of Fort Smith AR employers require certification before employing technicians. A few of the primary 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 in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, like California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a superior education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Training
To start with, let's resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial portion of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical component of the training can be attended online, it might be a more practical option for some Fort Smith AR students. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenses, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist school you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a superior education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the right choice for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Now that you have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already picked the type of program you want 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 Fort Smith AR in addition to the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online school. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are reviewing prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Arkansas? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you pick should be accredited by a reputable 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 superior education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future employers in the Fort Smith AR job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's essential to check out the reputations of all schools you are looking at. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also talk to several Fort Smith AR clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and find out if they can provide any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the Arkansas school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? To begin with, contact 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. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with regional medical facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on practical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Fort Smith AR healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Finding your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Fort Smith AR medical community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's important to make sure that the ultimate college you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Fort Smith AR, make sure they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option as well. And 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 in case you have to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Pick the Best Phlebotomist Training near Fort Smith Arkansas
Making certain that you choose the most suitable phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying health care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomy training programs can be offered in a wide range of educational institutes, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Training program options can vary a bit from state to state as each state has its own prerequisites when it concerns phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must diligently research and compare each school before making your ultimate decision. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the best phlebotomist school for you. And with the proper training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Fort Smith AR.