How to Choose the Best Phlebotomy Technician Training Classes near Jonesboro AR
Choosing the right phlebotomy school near Jonesboro AR is a critical first step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult undertaking to evaluate and compare all of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's important that you do your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a quality education. In fact, most potential students start their search by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another option you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll discuss more about online classes later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and need to be part of your selection process as well. 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 select the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomy Technician Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their main function, there is actually so much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork needs to be accurately completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory screening procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers 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. Some phlebotomists actually work in Jonesboro AR laboratories and are responsible for making certain that samples are tested correctly under the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they may be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The most basic answer is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, including Jonesboro AR medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a specific type of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be drawing blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily 2 types of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to finish and furnishes a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they normally take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program provide a more expansive background in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, a number of Jonesboro AR employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. Some of the key certifying agencies 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, like California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a premium education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Classes
First, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial part of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical part of the training can be attended online, it might be a more practical option for many Jonesboro AR students. As an additional benefit, many online schools are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenditures, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist school you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online might be the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Now that you have a general understanding 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 type of program you want 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 Jonesboro AR in addition to the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy college. Each of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the colleges you are reviewing before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might have 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 practicing and readies you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you choose should be accredited by a reputable 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 in addition to an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future employers in the Jonesboro AR job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In numerous 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 all colleges you are considering. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also contact a few Jonesboro AR hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest 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 grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Provided? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internships Provided? Find out from the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with regional health care facilities. They are the ideal means to receive hands-on clinical training typically not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Jonesboro AR healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Landing your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college 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 a large network of professional contacts within the Jonesboro AR medical community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? And last, it's critical to verify that the final college you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is especially true if you opt to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Jonesboro AR, make sure they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option also. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure 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.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Jonesboro Arkansas
Making certain that you enroll in the right phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare career position. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomy training programs are available in a number of academic institutes, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings may vary slightly from state to state as each state has its own prerequisites when it concerns phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must diligently research and compare each program prior to making your final selection. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomist school for you. And with the proper training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Jonesboro AR.