How to Select the Best Phlebotomy Technician School near Jonesboro AR
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomist training near Jonesboro AR is an essential initial step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting task to analyze and compare all of the school alternatives that are available to you. However it's vital that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you get a superior education. In reality, most students start their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional factor you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll talk a bit 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 factors such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and should be part of your selection process also. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you choose the right 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 tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their principal responsibility, there is actually far more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the tools being utilized are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample needs to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork needs to be accurately completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening process. The phlebotomist then transports 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. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Jonesboro AR labs and are accountable for making certain that samples are tested correctly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The quickest response is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are numerous and diverse, such as Jonesboro AR medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be charged to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a certain type of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be collecting blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to complete and offers a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they normally take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program provide a more extensive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not required in most states, a number of Jonesboro AR employers require certification prior to employing 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 several states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, such as Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a superior education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Certificates and Degrees
To begin with, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A good portion of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical part of the training can be accessed online, it may be a more practical alternative for some Jonesboro AR students. As an additional benefit, some online classes are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized also. Just verify that the online phlebotomist college you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Now that you have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already picked 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 college is important if you will be commuting from Jonesboro AR as well as the tuition expense. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy college. Each of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about all of the colleges you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be working and preps you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you select should be accredited by a recognized regional or national 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 premium education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Jonesboro AR job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even contact a few Jonesboro AR hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and find out if they can provide any insights. As a closing 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 Sufficient Training Provided? To begin with, contact 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. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Ask the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with local medical facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on practical training often not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Jonesboro AR health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Getting your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college 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 a substantial network of professional contacts within the Jonesboro AR medical community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's critical to make sure that the final program you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Jonesboro AR, check that 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 completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is should you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Choose the Right Phlebotomy Training near Jonesboro Arkansas
Making certain that you select the most suitable phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding health care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be offered in a variety of academic institutions, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide assortment of programs in medical care and health sciences. Program offerings can vary a bit from state to state as every state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must thoroughly screen and compare each program before making your ultimate decision. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the best phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Jonesboro AR.