How to Select the Best Phlebotomist Training Classes near Hot Springs National Park AR
Choosing the right phlebotomy training near Hot Springs National Park AR is an essential first step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult undertaking to investigate and compare all of the training options that are accessible to you. However it's vital that you do your due diligence to make sure that you receive a superior education. In reality, a large number of prospective students begin their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Another option you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll review a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation 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 evaluating to help you pick the best one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Tech Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their primary responsibility, there is actually much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample needs to be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork needs to be properly completed 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 in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Hot Springs National Park AR labs and are in charge of ensuring that samples are analyzed correctly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The most basic answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are numerous and diverse, such as Hot Springs National Park AR hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be charged to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a particular type of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Education, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two types of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to complete and furnishes a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest route 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 on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program provide a more extensive background in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will probably want to be certified. While not required in the majority of states, many Hot Springs National Park AR employers look for certification before hiring technicians. A few of the principal 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, such as California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a premium education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Schools
To begin with, let's resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial part of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical component of the training may be attended online, it may be a more convenient alternative for many Hot Springs National Park AR students. As an additional benefit, some online colleges are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some costs, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced also. Just verify that the online phlebotomy college you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Now that you have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already selected the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, 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 decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist college. All of these decisions are a critical component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about each of the colleges you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Arkansas? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you select should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a superior education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Hot Springs National Park AR job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In numerous 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 important to check out the reputations of all colleges you are reviewing. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even check with some Hot Springs National Park AR hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and find out if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the Arkansas school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Ample Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internships Provided? Ask the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with area health care facilities. They are the ideal means to get hands-on clinical training often not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Hot Springs National Park AR health care community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Landing your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are looking at 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 college has both a good reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Hot Springs National Park AR healthcare community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? And last, it's critical to verify that the final school you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is especially important if you decide to still work while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Hot Springs National Park AR, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option also. Even if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is should you need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training near Hot Springs National Park Arkansas
Making sure that you choose the ideal phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare career position. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are offered in a number of academic institutions, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive assortment of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options can vary a bit across the country as each state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to carefully screen and compare each school before making your final decision. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the best phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Hot Springs National Park AR.