How to Select the Best Phlebotomy Training Classes near Hot Springs National Park AR
Selecting the right phlebotomy technician training near Hot Springs National Park AR is a critical initial step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting undertaking to evaluate and compare all of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a superior education. In reality, most potential students begin their search by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another factor you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll talk more about online classes later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and must be part of your selection process also. 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 pick the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomy Tech Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their principal function, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the tools being used are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork has to be accurately filled out to be able 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 may be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Hot Springs National Park AR labs and are accountable for ensuring that samples are analyzed properly under the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they may be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The easiest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are many and varied, such as Hot Springs National Park AR medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a particular type of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be collecting blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Licensing and Certification
There are basically 2 kinds of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to complete and provides a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they usually require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program furnish a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. Although not mandated in most states, most Hot Springs National Park AR employers require certification before hiring technicians. A few of the key certifying agencies 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 in order to practice as a phlebotomist, such as California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a superior education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Colleges
First, let's dispel one likely mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial part of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical part of the training may be attended online, it may be a more convenient option for many Hot Springs National Park AR students. As an added benefit, a number of online schools are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy program you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a superior education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the ideal choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Now that you have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate 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 mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is relevant if you will be commuting from Hot Springs National Park AR as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online school. All of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomist program that fulfills 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 College Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program 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 many benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a superior education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Hot Springs National Park AR job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's essential to investigate the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. You can begin 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 ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even check with some Hot Springs National Park AR clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and see if they can provide any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the Arkansas school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Enough Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internships Included? Ask the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with local medical facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on clinical training often not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Hot Springs National Park AR medical community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Hot Springs National Park AR healthcare community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's important to confirm that the ultimate school you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while attending college. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Hot Springs National Park AR, make sure they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is in case you need to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training near Hot Springs National Park Arkansas
Making sure that you select the ideal phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are found in a number of educational institutes, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive assortment of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options may vary a bit from state to state as every state has its own prerequisites when it comes to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to carefully screen and compare each college before making your ultimate choice. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the right phlebotomist college for you. And with the proper training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Hot Springs National Park AR.