How to Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Fort Smith AR
Picking the ideal phlebotomy training near Fort Smith AR is an important initial step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting undertaking to investigate and compare each of the training options that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's important that you do your due diligence to make certain that you get a superior education. In reality, many potential students begin the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional factor you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll talk more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and must be part of your selection process too. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you choose the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomist Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their primary responsibility, there is actually so much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the instruments being utilized are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample needs to be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork needs to be properly completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Fort Smith AR laboratories and are responsible for making sure that samples are analyzed properly using the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they can be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The simplest response is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are numerous and varied, such as Fort Smith AR medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a specific kind of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients each day.
Phlebotomist Training, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to finish and furnishes a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they normally require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program provide a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. Although not required in most states, many Fort Smith AR employers look for certification before employing technicians. Some of the primary 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 require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a superior education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Training
To start with, let's dispel one likely mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant component of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical component of the training can be accessed online, it may be a more practical option for some Fort Smith AR students. As an added benefit, many online colleges are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenditures, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy program you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a premium education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the best option for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Since you now have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the kind 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. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy school. All of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you should ask about all of the colleges you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be working and readies you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you select should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a superior education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to future employers in the Fort Smith AR job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also check with a few Fort Smith AR hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and see if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the Arkansas school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Adequate Training Provided? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. At 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 practical training. Anything lower than these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with area health care facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on practical training often not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish 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 assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Fort Smith AR medical community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's important to verify that the ultimate college you pick offers classes at times that are compatible with your active schedule. This is particularly true if you choose to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Fort Smith AR, make certain they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is should you need to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Pick the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Fort Smith Arkansas
Making sure that you select the most suitable phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be found in a wide range of educational institutions, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive range of programs in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings may differ somewhat from state to state as every state has its own requirements when it comes to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must thoroughly evaluate and compare each school before making your ultimate choice. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomist program for you. And with the appropriate training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Fort Smith AR.