How to Select the Right Phlebotomy Tech Training Program near Hot Springs National Park AR
Choosing the right phlebotomy training near Hot Springs National Park AR is a critical initial step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult task to investigate and compare all of the school options that are accessible to you. However it's important that you do your due diligence to make sure that you get a quality education. In reality, many prospective students start the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional option you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll talk a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and must be part of your selection process as well. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you select the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomy Technician Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their primary responsibility, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the instruments being utilized are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork needs to be correctly completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Hot Springs National Park AR laboratories and are accountable for making certain that samples are tested correctly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they may be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The simplest response is wherever there are patients. Their work environments 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 toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a specific kind of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be collecting blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients every day.
Phlebotomist Education, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to finish and provides a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program offer a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. While not required in most states, a number of Hot Springs National Park AR employers require certification before hiring 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 in order to practice as a phlebotomist, like California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a superior education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Colleges
To start with, let's dispel one possible misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A good component of the program of studies 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 can be attended online, it might be a more convenient alternative for some Hot Springs National Park AR students. As an added benefit, a number of online schools are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered also. Just verify that the online phlebotomist school you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a quality education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the right option for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Since you now have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is significant if you will be commuting from Hot Springs National Park AR in addition to the cost of tuition. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online school. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the process for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Following are several questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are looking at before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may need 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 working and prepares you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you pick should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are typically not available for non-accredited programs. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Hot Springs National Park AR job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's essential to investigate the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also check with several Hot Springs National Park AR hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the Arkansas school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Adequate 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 considering should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with local healthcare facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on practical training frequently not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Hot Springs National Park AR healthcare community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Landing your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Hot Springs National Park AR health care community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? And last, it's critical to make sure that the ultimate school you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is especially important if you choose to still work while attending college. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Hot Springs National Park AR, make certain they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option also. And if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is in case you need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Pick the Best Phlebotomy Training near Hot Springs National Park Arkansas
Making sure that you pick the ideal phlebotomist training is an essential 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 quality school. Phlebotomist training programs are offered in a wide range of educational institutes, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings can differ a bit across the country as every state has its own mandates when it comes to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to diligently screen and compare each college 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 best phlebotomy program for you. And with the proper education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Hot Springs National Park AR.