How to Pick the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Hot Springs National Park AR
Picking the ideal phlebotomy technician school near Hot Springs National Park AR is an important initial step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting task to evaluate and compare all of the school alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you do your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a quality education. In reality, a large number of students start their search by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another option you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss 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 including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and must be part of your selection process also. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing 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 classes.
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Phlebotomist Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their main task, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the tools being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork has to be correctly completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be tested 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 in charge of ensuring that samples are analyzed correctly under the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The simplest response is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, such as Hot Springs National Park AR hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a particular kind of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to finish and offers a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program offer a more extensive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not mandated in most states, a number of Hot Springs National Park AR employers require certification before employing technicians. A few of the principal certifying organizations 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 phlebotomy tech, like California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a premium education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Colleges
To start with, let's resolve one likely mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A good component of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical component of the training can be accessed online, it can be a more practical option for many Hot Springs National Park AR students. As an added benefit, some online programs are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist program you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a quality education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Now that you have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is important if you will be commuting from Hot Springs National Park AR in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online college. All of these decisions are a critical component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you choose should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to a guarantee of a quality education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future employers in the Hot Springs National Park AR job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of any schools you are considering. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their students as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even contact a few Hot Springs National Park AR hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the Arkansas school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Adequate Training Included? First, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Ask the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with area medical facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on clinical training frequently not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Hot Springs National Park AR health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Hot Springs National Park AR medical community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's crucial to confirm that the ultimate program you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending college. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Hot Springs National Park AR, make sure they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option also. And if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is should you need to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Pick the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Hot Springs National Park Arkansas
Making sure that you enroll in the ideal phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are available in a variety of academic institutions, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Course offerings may differ slightly across the country as each state has its own prerequisites when it comes to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to thoroughly evaluate and compare each college before making your ultimate choice. 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 appropriate education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Hot Springs National Park AR.