How to Pick the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Hot Springs National Park AR
Selecting the right phlebotomy training near Hot Springs National Park AR is a critical first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging task to investigate and compare each of the training options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a quality education. In fact, a large number of potential students start their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another option you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll review a bit 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 locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your decision process also. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you select the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online schools.
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Phlebotomist Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their principal task, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the tools being utilized are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork needs to be accurately filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing procedure. 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. Some phlebotomists actually work in Hot Springs National Park AR labs and are accountable for making sure that samples are analyzed correctly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they can be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The quickest response is wherever there are 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 may be charged to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a specific type of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Education, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to finish and offers a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate 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 four year program provide a more expansive background in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not mandated in most states, many Hot Springs National Park AR employers require certification before employing technicians. Some of the main 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 require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, including Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a superior education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Certificates and Degrees
To start with, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A good portion of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical portion of the training may be attended online, it may be a more practical alternative for many Hot Springs National Park AR students. As an additional benefit, many online colleges are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomist college you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a quality education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Now that you have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already decided on the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is important if you will be commuting from Hot Springs National Park AR in addition to the tuition expense. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy program. All of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the colleges you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for all examinations you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you select should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a superior education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Finally, 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 minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to investigate the reputations of all 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 online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also talk to a few Hot Springs National Park AR hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and find out if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the Arkansas school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Included? First, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with regional healthcare facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on practical training often not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Hot Springs National Park AR health care community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Hot Springs National Park AR health care community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to confirm that the ultimate program you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is especially true if you opt to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Hot Springs National Park AR, make certain they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option also. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is should you have to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Choose the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Hot Springs National Park Arkansas
Making sure that you pick the right phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding health care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are found in a wide range of educational institutions, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive range of programs in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings may vary somewhat across the country as every state has its own prerequisites when it concerns phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to thoroughly screen and compare each program before making your ultimate selection. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the right phlebotomy school for you. And with the appropriate education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Hot Springs National Park AR.