How to Find the Right Phlebotomy Technician Training Program near Hot Springs AR
Enrolling in the right phlebotomist training near Hot Springs AR is a critical first step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting task to analyze and compare all of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's important that you do your due diligence to make certain that you get a superior education. In fact, many students start their search 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 classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll review a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember 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 as well. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing 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 conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomy Tech Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their principal responsibility, there is actually far more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the tools being utilized are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be accurately completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab screening process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Hot Springs AR labs and are accountable for making sure that samples are analyzed properly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they might be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The easiest answer is wherever there are patients. Their work places are numerous and varied, including Hot Springs AR medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a certain type of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.
Phlebotomist Education, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily two kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to finish 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 exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program offer a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not required in the majority of states, most Hot Springs AR employers require certification prior to employing technicians. A few of the primary certifying organizations 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 in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, 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 furnishes a premium education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Colleges
First, let's dispel one possible mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A good portion of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical portion of the training can be attended online, it might be a more convenient option for many Hot Springs AR students. As an added benefit, a number of online colleges are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenses, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy school you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a superior education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online might be the best choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Now that you have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already selected the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is relevant if you will be commuting from Hot Springs AR in addition to the tuition expense. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online school. All of these decisions are a critical part of the process for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are reviewing before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy 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 require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to enroll in 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 program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a superior education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited colleges. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future employers in the Hot Springs AR job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of any colleges you are reviewing. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also talk to some Hot Springs AR hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the Arkansas school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Included? To begin with, contact 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. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Ask the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with area healthcare facilities. They are the ideal means to get hands-on practical training often not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Hot Springs AR medical community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Hot Springs AR medical community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's important to confirm that the final program you choose offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is especially true if you opt to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Hot Springs AR, check that they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option as well. 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 ask what the make-up protocol is in case you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Pick the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Hot Springs Arkansas
Making sure that you choose the right phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare field. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are found in a wide range of academic institutes, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Course options may differ slightly across the country as every state has its own prerequisites when it pertains to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to carefully evaluate and compare each college prior to making your final decision. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the right phlebotomist program for you. And with the appropriate education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Hot Springs AR.