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Become a Phlebotomist in Fort Smith Arkansas

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

Fort Smith AR phlebotomy tech drawing bloodChoosing the right phlebotomy technician training near Fort Smith AR is an important first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult undertaking to assess and compare each of the training options that are available to you. However it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you get a quality education. In reality, most prospective students begin the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Another factor you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss 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 finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and must 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 reviewing to help you pick the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online schools.

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Phlebotomy Technician Job Summary

Fort Smith AR phlebotomist lab techA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main function, there is actually so much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the instruments being used are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork must be correctly filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab 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. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Fort Smith AR labs and are accountable for making certain that samples are tested properly under the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they might be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.

Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?

The easiest answer is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, such as Fort Smith AR hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be charged to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a certain type of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients each day.

Phlebotomy Training, Certification and Licensing

blood analysis performed in Fort Smith AR laboratoryThere are essentially 2 types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to complete and provides a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available 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 expansive foundation in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, many Fort Smith AR employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. Some 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, like Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a quality education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.

Phlebotomy Online Training

Fort Smith AR student attending phlebotomy training onlineTo start with, let's resolve one possible misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial component of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical part of the training can be accessed online, it may be a more practical alternative for some Fort Smith AR students. As an additional benefit, many online classes are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist school you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the right choice for you.

Should You Choose a Career as a Phlebotomy Tech?

First of all, few people probably know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have already discussed, the short answer is a medical professional who draws blood from patients. So naturally anyone who chooses this profession must be OK around blood and needles. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Fort Smith AR medical environments, well this job may not be the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians tend to work around anxious people who don’t like needles or having their blood drawn. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you may be required to work weekends, nights and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the blood and needles, and if you enjoy helping people and are patient and compassionate, this could be the right profession for you.

Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Schools

What to ask Fort Smith AR phlebotomy schoolsSince you now have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the kind of program you wish 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 tuition expense. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy school. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the process for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection.

Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed before working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be working and preps you for any examinations you may have to take.

Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you choose should be accredited by a reputable 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 school in addition to a guarantee of a superior education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited programs. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Fort Smith AR job market.

What is the College's Ranking? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even contact 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 final thought, you can contact the Arkansas school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.

Is Ample 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. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish adequate training.

Are Internships Sponsored? Find out from the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with area health care facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on practical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Fort Smith AR health care community. And they look good on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Help Offered? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Fort Smith AR health care community.

Are Classes Available as Needed? And last, it's critical to make sure that the ultimate school you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is especially true if you opt to continue working while going to school. If you need to attend 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. And if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is should you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.

Choose the Best Phlebotomy Training near Fort Smith Arkansas

Making sure that you enroll in the most suitable phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be offered in a wide range of academic institutes, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide assortment of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options may vary somewhat across the country as every state has its own criteria when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must thoroughly screen and compare each school before making your ultimate decision. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomy school for you. And with the proper training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Fort Smith AR.