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Become a Phlebotomist in Fort Smith Arkansas

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

Fort Smith AR phlebotomist drawing blood from patientChoosing the right phlebotomist school near Fort Smith AR is a critical initial step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult task to analyze and compare each of the school options that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a quality education. In reality, many potential students begin the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional factor you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll review a bit more about online classes later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and should be part of your selection 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 assessing to help you pick the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online training.

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Phlebotomy Technician Career Description

Fort Smith AR phlebotomy laboratory techA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their primary responsibility, there is actually so much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork must be correctly filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Fort Smith AR laboratories and are accountable for making sure that samples are analyzed correctly using the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they might be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.

Where are Phlebotomists Employed?

The most basic response is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are many and varied, including Fort Smith AR medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a specific kind of patient. For example, 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 mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.

Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing

blood analysis performed in Fort Smith AR laboratoryThere are essentially two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to complete and furnishes a basic education along with 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 to become a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they normally take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program offer a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. Although not mandated in most states, most 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 several states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, like Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a quality education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.

Phlebotomist Online Classes

Fort Smith Arkansas woman attending phlebotomy classes onlineTo start with, let's resolve one likely mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A good portion of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed online, it could be a more convenient option for some Fort Smith AR students. As an added benefit, some online programs are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist school you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a superior education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the right option for you.

Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Programs

Since you now have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already chosen 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 school is significant if you will be commuting from Fort Smith AR in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy college. Each of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you should ask about all of the colleges you are reviewing before making your final decision.

Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for any examinations you may have to take.

Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting agency, 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 a guarantee of a superior education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Fort Smith AR job market.

What is the College's Reputation? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of any colleges you are reviewing. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even talk to some Fort Smith AR hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and ask 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 schools are in total compliance.

Is Ample Training Provided? First, 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 considering 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 Internships Included? Find out from the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with regional health care facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on clinical training frequently not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Fort Smith AR health care community. And they look good on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Getting your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Fort Smith AR healthcare community.

Are Classes Available as Needed? Finally, it's crucial to make sure that the ultimate program you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is especially true if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Fort Smith AR, make certain 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 practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is in case you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.

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Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Fort Smith Arkansas

Making certain that you enroll in the ideal phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be offered in a variety of academic institutes, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive range of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings may vary slightly from state to state as every state has its own mandates when it comes to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to carefully evaluate and compare each college before making your final choice. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the ideal phlebotomist school for you. And with the proper education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Fort Smith AR.