How to Select the Best Phlebotomist School near Jonesboro AR
Picking the ideal phlebotomy school near Jonesboro AR is an essential initial step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult undertaking to investigate and compare all of the school alternatives that are available to you. However it's important that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you get a superior education. In reality, many prospective students start their search by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another factor you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll review more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and must be part of your decision process too. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you choose the best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomy Technician Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their primary responsibility, there is actually far more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the tools being used are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be correctly filled out to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Jonesboro AR labs and are in charge of making certain that samples are analyzed correctly under the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they can be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The quickest response is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are numerous and varied, such as Jonesboro AR hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be charged to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a specific type of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients every day.
Phlebotomy Training, Certification and Licensing
There are basically 2 types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to complete and provides a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program provide a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not mandated in most states, most Jonesboro AR employers look for certification before hiring technicians. Some 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 a few states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, like Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a premium education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Certificates and Degrees
To start with, let's dispel one potential misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant part of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical component of the training can be attended online, it could be a more practical option for some Jonesboro AR students. As an additional benefit, many online classes are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist school you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a premium education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the right choice for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Since you now have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already selected the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is significant if you will be commuting from Jonesboro AR in addition to the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online college. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are reviewing prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Arkansas? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be working and preps you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you pick should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited school in addition to a guarantee of a superior education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for 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 potential employers in the Jonesboro AR job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In numerous states there is little 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 all colleges you are looking at. You can begin 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 rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even contact some Jonesboro AR hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the Arkansas school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? First, check with 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 phlebotomist program that you are looking at should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out from the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with area healthcare facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on practical training typically not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Jonesboro AR healthcare community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Jonesboro AR healthcare community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to make sure that the ultimate program you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while going to college. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Jonesboro AR, check that they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is in case you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Pick the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Jonesboro 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 go into the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are available in a number of academic institutions, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program offerings may differ somewhat from state to state as every state has its own prerequisites when it pertains to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must diligently screen and compare each school before making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the ideal phlebotomist program for you. And with the appropriate training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Jonesboro AR.