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Become a Phlebotomist in Fort Smith Arkansas

How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Tech Training Program near Fort Smith AR

Fort Smith AR phlebotomy tech drawing blood from patientSelecting the right phlebotomy technician training near Fort Smith AR is an essential first step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging undertaking to assess and compare all of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you get a superior education. In fact, most students begin the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another factor you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll discuss more about online schools later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and need to be part of your decision process too. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online schools.

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Phlebotomy Tech Career Summary

Fort Smith AR phlebotomy laboratory technicianA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their main task, there is actually so much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the tools being utilized are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample needs to be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork must be correctly completed 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 can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Fort Smith AR laboratories and are in charge of ensuring that samples are tested properly under the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.

Where are Phlebotomists Employed?

The most basic answer is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are numerous and diverse, such as Fort Smith AR medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a particular type of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients on a daily basis.

Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing

blood testing performed in Fort Smith AR laboratoryThere are essentially two kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to complete and furnishes a general education as well as 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, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they usually require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program furnish a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. After 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 before employing technicians. A few of the key certifying organizations include:

  • National Phlebotomy Association
  • National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
  • American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
  • American Medical Technologists (AMT)

There are some states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, such as California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a premium education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.

Phlebotomist Online Certificates and Degrees

Fort Smith AR student attending phlebotomy school onlineFirst, let's dispel one potential misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial 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. Many courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical part of the training can be accessed online, it could be a more practical alternative for many Fort Smith AR students. As an added benefit, a number of online schools are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist school you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the right choice for you.

Subjects to Ask Phlebotomist Schools

Since you now have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is important if you will be commuting from Fort Smith AR as well as the cost of tuition. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you should ask about each of the colleges you are reviewing before making your final selection.

Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Arkansas? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed before working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be working and readies you for any exams you may be required to take.

Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you pick should be accredited by a respected 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 premium education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, 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 frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future employers in the Fort Smith AR job market.

What is the School's Reputation? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. 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 research online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even talk to several Fort Smith AR clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and see if they can offer 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 schools are in total compliance.

Is Adequate Training Provided? To begin with, check with 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 looking at should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.

Are Internships Included? Find out from the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional healthcare facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on practical training often not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Fort Smith AR healthcare community. And they look good on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Finding your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Fort Smith AR medical community.

Are Classes Available as Needed? Finally, it's crucial to verify that the final school you choose offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is especially true if you choose to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Fort Smith AR, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is should you have to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.

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Choose the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Fort Smith Arkansas

Making certain that you select the ideal phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare field. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomy training programs can be found in a number of educational institutes, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive range of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program options can vary somewhat across the country as each state has its own prerequisites when it concerns phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to diligently screen and compare each program prior to making your final selection. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomy program for you. And with the proper education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Fort Smith AR.