How to Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Tech School near Hot Springs AR
Selecting the ideal phlebotomist school near Hot Springs AR is an important first step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging undertaking to assess and compare each of the school options that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's important that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you receive a quality education. In fact, many potential students begin the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional option you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll talk more about online classes later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and should be part of your decision process as well. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomy Tech Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their primary responsibility, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the instruments 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 correctly filled out to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory screening 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 pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Hot Springs AR labs and are accountable for making sure that samples are analyzed properly under the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they can be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The most basic response is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, including Hot Springs AR medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a specific type of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to complete and provides a general education together 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 specifically a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they typically take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program provide a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. While not required in the majority of states, most Hot Springs AR employers look for certification before employing technicians. A few of the primary certifying agencies include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are several states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, like Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a quality education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Classes
To start with, let's dispel one potential misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant component of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical component of the training may be accessed online, it may be a more convenient alternative for some Hot Springs AR students. As an added benefit, many online programs are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenses, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist college you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a premium education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Since you now have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already picked the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is important if you will be commuting from Hot Springs AR as well as the cost of tuition. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. All of these decisions are an important component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are considering prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be working and preps you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you choose should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance of a premium education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to future employers in the Hot Springs AR job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer 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 also. You can also contact several Hot Springs AR hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and see if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Arkansas school licensing authority and find out 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 clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should furnish 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 expansive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with area healthcare facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on practical training typically not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Hot Springs AR health care community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Landing your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are looking at 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 program has both an excellent reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Hot Springs AR medical community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's important to verify that the final college you choose offers classes at times that are compatible with your active schedule. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while going to school. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Hot Springs AR, make certain they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm 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 find out what the make-up procedure is should you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Pick the Best Phlebotomist Training near Hot Springs Arkansas
Making certain that you select the ideal phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomist training programs can be found in a wide range of educational institutes, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive assortment of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings can differ somewhat from state to state as every state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to diligently 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 options so that you can pick the best phlebotomy program for you. And with the appropriate training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Hot Springs AR.