How to Find the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Hot Springs AR
Picking the ideal phlebotomy school near Hot Springs AR is an important first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting task to assess and compare all of the training options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a superior education. In reality, most students begin their search by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another option you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll talk more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and need to be part of your decision process also. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you choose the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomist Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their primary duty, there is actually so much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the instruments being utilized are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork has to be correctly filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Hot Springs AR labs and are in charge of ensuring that samples are tested properly under the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they might be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The quickest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are many and varied, such as Hot Springs AR medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a specific kind of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients every day.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Licensing and Certification
There are basically 2 kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to complete and furnishes a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they normally take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program furnish a more expansive background in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, most Hot Springs AR employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. Some 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 several states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, including California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a premium education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Certificates and Degrees
To start with, let's resolve one likely mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A good component of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical portion of the training may be attended online, it may be a more practical alternative for many Hot Springs AR students. As an added benefit, many online classes are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist school you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online might be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Since you now have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already picked the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is important if you will be commuting from Hot Springs AR in addition to the cost of tuition. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online school. All of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are looking at prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. 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 prepares you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a superior education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Hot Springs AR job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to investigate the reputations of all schools you are reviewing. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also talk to a few Hot Springs AR clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and find out if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the Arkansas school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Included? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internships Provided? Find out from the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with area medical facilities. They are the optimal way to get hands-on practical training frequently not available on campus. As an added 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 Support Available? Finding your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation along with 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 crucial to confirm that the final program you pick offers classes at times that are compatible with your active schedule. This is especially true if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Hot Springs AR, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is should you need to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Choose the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Hot Springs Arkansas
Making certain that you choose the right phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be found in a wide range of educational institutions, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive assortment of programs in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings may vary slightly 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 thoroughly evaluate and compare each school prior to making your ultimate selection. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the best phlebotomist college for you. And with the proper training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Hot Springs AR.