How to Choose the Right Phlebotomist School near Hot Springs AR
Choosing the right phlebotomy technician school near Hot Springs AR is an essential initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging undertaking to analyze and compare each of the training options that are available to you. However it's important that you do your due diligence to ensure that you receive a superior education. In reality, many potential students start their search by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another option you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll review 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 locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and should 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 ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomist Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their principal function, there is in fact far more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the tools being employed are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork must be accurately completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Hot Springs AR laboratories and are accountable for making certain that samples are analyzed properly under the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they can be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The easiest response is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, including Hot Springs AR medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be charged to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a specific kind of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be drawing blood from elderly 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 variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
There are basically two kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to complete and offers a basic 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, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they typically take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program provide a more extensive background in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not required in most states, most Hot Springs AR employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. A few of the main 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 require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, such as Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's important that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a premium education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Certificates and Degrees
To begin with, let's dispel one possible misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial part of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical part of the training can be attended online, it can be a more convenient option for many Hot Springs AR students. As an additional benefit, many online programs are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced also. Just verify that the online phlebotomy college you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online might be the ideal choice for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Now that you have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already decided on the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is important if you will be commuting from Hot Springs AR in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy program. Each of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for picking 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 colleges you are looking at prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Arkansas? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomy program that meets 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 School Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a superior education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Hot Springs AR job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of all schools you are considering. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even contact several Hot Springs AR clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and see 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 colleges are in full compliance.
Is Ample Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should furnish 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 comprehensive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internships Provided? Find out from the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with area medical facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on clinical training frequently 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 are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Finding your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are considering 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 positions, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Hot Springs AR health care community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's important to make sure that the ultimate program you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is especially true if you opt to still work while going to college. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Hot Springs AR, make certain they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is in case you have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Pick the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Hot Springs Arkansas
Making certain that you enroll in the most suitable phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be found in a number of academic institutions, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide assortment of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Course options may vary a bit across the country as each state has its own prerequisites when it concerns phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must diligently evaluate and compare each program before making your final decision. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the best phlebotomist school for you. And with the proper training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Hot Springs AR.