How to Pick the Best Phlebotomist Training Classes near Hot Springs AR
Choosing the ideal phlebotomy technician school near Hot Springs AR is an essential first step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult undertaking to investigate and compare all of the school alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you get a quality education. In fact, a large number of students begin their search by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another option you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll talk more about online schools later in this article. What you need to keep in mind 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 important considerations and should be part of your selection process too. Toward that end, we will provide 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 address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Tech Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their principal duty, there is actually far more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork has to be correctly filled out to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Hot Springs AR laboratories and are accountable for making certain that samples are tested correctly utilizing the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they might be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The quickest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are many and diverse, such as Hot Springs AR medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a specific type of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be drawing blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients every day.
Phlebotomist Training, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to finish and provides a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they typically take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program provide a more extensive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. While not required in most states, most Hot Springs AR employers look for certification prior to hiring 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 a few states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's important that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a superior education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Certificates and Degrees
To start with, let's resolve one likely mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant component of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical component of the training may be attended online, it could be a more convenient option for many Hot Springs AR students. As an added benefit, a number of online classes are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some costs, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered also. Just verify that the online phlebotomist school you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the best choice for you.
Should You Train to Be a Plebotomist?Right out of the gate, not many people probably know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have previously discussed, the short definition is a medical professional whose job is to draw blood. So naturally anyone who selects this profession must be able to handle blood and needles. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Hot Springs AR medical facilities, well this job probably is not right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomists tend to work around nervous people who hate needles or having a blood sample taken. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably be expected to work weekends, evenings and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the needles and blood, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the right job for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Since you now have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is important if you will be commuting from Hot Springs AR as well as the cost of tuition. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. Each of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the colleges you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Arkansas? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for 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. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be working and prepares you for all examinations you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you pick should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a premium education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited schools. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Hot Springs AR job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In many 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 important to check out the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even check with some Hot Springs AR clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and find out if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the Arkansas school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with area medical facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on practical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Hot Springs AR medical community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be much 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 college has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Hot Springs AR healthcare community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's crucial to make sure that the final program you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is especially true 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 AR, make certain they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option also. Even if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is should you have to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Pick the Best Phlebotomy Training near Hot Springs Arkansas
Making sure that you select the right phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare career position. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are available in a wide range of academic institutes, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive assortment of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Course options can differ a bit from state to state as each state has its own prerequisites when it pertains to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to carefully screen and compare each college before making your final decision. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomist program for you. And with the appropriate training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Hot Springs AR.