How to Pick the Best Phlebotomy Technician School near Jonesboro AR
Picking the ideal phlebotomist training near Jonesboro AR is an important initial step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting task to analyze and compare each of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you receive a superior education. In reality, many students start the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another factor you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll discuss more about online classes later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and should be part of your decision process too. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating 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 discussion about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Technician Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main responsibility, there is in fact far more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the tools being employed are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork needs to be properly filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Jonesboro AR laboratories and are in charge of making certain that samples are tested properly under the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they may be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The easiest response is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are numerous and diverse, such as Jonesboro AR hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a particular kind of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients every day.
Phlebotomist Education, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to finish and offers a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they usually require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program offer a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. While not mandated in most states, most Jonesboro AR employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. Some of the principal 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 in order to practice as a phlebotomist, like Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a quality education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Classes
To begin with, let's resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant component of the program of studies 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 completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical portion of the training can be attended online, it might be a more practical alternative for some Jonesboro AR students. As an additional benefit, some online classes are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some costs, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomy college you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a premium education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online might be the right option for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Since you now have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is relevant if you will be commuting from Jonesboro AR in addition to the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online school. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the process for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are a few questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are considering prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Arkansas? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national 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 superior education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Jonesboro AR job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of all colleges you are reviewing. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also check with some Jonesboro AR hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and see if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the Arkansas school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Enough Training Included? First, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internships Provided? Ask the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with area healthcare facilities. They are the optimal way to obtain hands-on clinical training typically not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Jonesboro AR health care 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 assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Jonesboro AR healthcare community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? And last, it's important to make sure that the ultimate college you choose provides classes at times that are compatible with your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Jonesboro AR, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option also. And if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Choose the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Jonesboro Arkansas
Making sure that you select the ideal phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomy training programs can be offered in a wide range of educational institutions, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive assortment of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course options may vary somewhat from state to state as every state has its own prerequisites when it comes to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to carefully evaluate and compare each school prior to making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the right phlebotomy school for you. And with the proper education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Jonesboro AR.