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Become a Phlebotomist in Fort Smith Arkansas

How to Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Training Classes near Fort Smith AR

Fort Smith AR phlebotomy tech drawing blood from patientChoosing the ideal phlebotomy technician training near Fort Smith AR is an essential initial step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging undertaking to investigate and compare all of the school alternatives that are available to you. However it's vital that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you get a superior education. In reality, a large number of prospective students start their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another option you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll talk a bit 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 locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and must be part of your selection process as well. To assist in that effort, we will provide 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 address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online training.

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Phlebotomy Technician Work Summary

Fort Smith AR phlebotomist laboratory techA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their primary duty, there is in fact far more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork needs to be accurately filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. The phlebotomist then transports 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. Some phlebotomists actually work in Fort Smith AR laboratories and are accountable for making sure that samples are analyzed properly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they can be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.

Where do Phlebotomists Work?

The most basic response is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are numerous and diverse, such as Fort Smith AR medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a particular 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 collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients every day.

Phlebotomy Technician Education, Certification and Licensing

blood testing performed in Fort Smith AR labThere are basically 2 types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to finish and offers a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they usually take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program provide a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, a number of Fort Smith AR employers look for certification prior to 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 a few states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a superior education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.

Online Phlebotomy Certificates and Degrees

Fort Smith AR woman attending phlebotomy classes onlineFirst, let's dispel one potential misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A good component of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical component of the training may be accessed online, it may be a more practical alternative for many Fort Smith AR students. As an added benefit, some online schools are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some expenditures, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy college you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online may be the ideal choice for you.

Points to Ask Phlebotomist Programs

Since you now have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already selected the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is relevant if you will be commuting from Fort Smith AR in addition to the cost of tuition. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online college. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the process for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate decision.

Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for all examinations you may have 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, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Fort Smith AR job market.

What is the College's Ranking? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of any colleges you are considering. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job placement program. You can research online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even talk to a few Fort Smith AR clinics or hospitals that you may be interested 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 find out if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.

Is Sufficient Training Provided? To begin with, 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 clinical and classroom. At 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 practical training. Anything below these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to offer sufficient training.

Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with local health care facilities. They are the optimal way to receive hands-on practical training often not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Fort Smith AR medical community. And they look good on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Help Provided? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Fort Smith AR medical community.

Are Class Times Available as Needed? Finally, it's crucial to verify that the ultimate college you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you opt to still work while attending school. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Fort Smith AR, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is in case you need to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.

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Choose the Best Phlebotomist Training near Fort Smith Arkansas

Making certain that you select the right phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be offered in a wide range of educational institutes, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options can differ a bit across the country as each state has its own requirements when it pertains to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must thoroughly research and compare each program prior to making your final decision. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the best phlebotomist college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Fort Smith AR.