How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist School near Hot Springs National Park AR
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomist training near Hot Springs National Park AR is an important initial step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging undertaking to analyze and compare each of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you get a superior education. In fact, most students begin the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional factor you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll talk more about online schools later in this article. What you need to remember 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 accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and must be part of your decision process also. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you choose the right one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomist Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their main function, there is in fact far more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the instruments being utilized are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork must be properly completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Hot Springs National Park AR laboratories and are accountable for making certain that samples are analyzed correctly using the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they may be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The most basic response is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are numerous and diverse, including Hot Springs National Park AR medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a particular type of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be drawing blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients every day.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily two types of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to complete and offers a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program provide a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to get certified. Although not required in most states, a number of Hot Springs National Park AR employers require certification prior to employing 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 a few states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, like Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a quality education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Classes
To begin with, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't obtain 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. Numerous courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical component of the training may be attended online, it can be a more practical option for some Hot Springs National Park AR students. As an added benefit, a number of online classes are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist school you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Since you now have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already selected the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. 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 cost of tuition. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist school. All of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the colleges you are looking at before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Arkansas? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be working and preps you for all examinations you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a respected 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 school aside from a guarantee of a quality education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Hot Springs National Park AR job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of any schools you are considering. 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 screen internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even talk to a few Hot Springs National Park AR clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can check with the Arkansas school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Provided? To begin with, 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 reviewing should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out from the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional health care facilities. They are the ideal means to receive hands-on practical training frequently not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Hot Springs National Park AR health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Landing your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Hot Springs National Park AR medical community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's crucial to verify that the ultimate college you pick offers classes at times that are compatible with your active schedule. This is particularly important if you opt to still work while attending school. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Hot Springs National Park AR, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, 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 find out what the make-up protocol is in case you need to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training near Hot Springs National Park Arkansas
Making certain that you enroll in the right phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying health care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomy training programs are offered in a number of educational institutes, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive range of programs in medical care and health sciences. Program options can vary somewhat across the country as each state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to diligently evaluate and compare each school before making your ultimate choice. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the right phlebotomist school for you. And with the proper training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Hot Springs National Park AR.