How to Choose the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Jonesboro AR
Choosing the ideal phlebotomy technician school near Jonesboro AR is a critical first step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging task to evaluate and compare each of the school options that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you get a superior education. In reality, a large number of students start their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Another option you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll review more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and need to be part of your selection process too. Toward that end, we will provide 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 cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Tech Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their principal responsibility, there is in fact far more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork needs to be properly completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers 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. Some phlebotomists actually work in Jonesboro AR laboratories and are responsible for making certain that samples are analyzed correctly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they might be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The simplest answer is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are many and diverse, including Jonesboro AR hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be charged to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a specific type of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.
Phlebotomist Education, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily two types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to finish and provides a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest method 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 phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more extensive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. Although not required in the majority of states, many Jonesboro AR employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. A few 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, like Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's important that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a premium education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Schools
First, let's dispel one potential mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial portion of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical component of the training can be accessed online, it could be a more convenient alternative for many Jonesboro AR students. As an added benefit, a number of online schools are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some costs, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist college you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the right option for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Now that you have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the type 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 important if you will be commuting from Jonesboro AR in addition to the tuition expense. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist school. All of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you need to ask about each of the colleges you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very 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 be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you choose should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Jonesboro AR job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of any colleges you are reviewing. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their students as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also talk to several Jonesboro AR clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and find out if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the Arkansas school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Included? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional medical facilities. They are the optimal way to receive hands-on clinical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Jonesboro AR healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Finding your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Jonesboro AR healthcare community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's crucial to confirm that the final college you pick offers classes at times that are compatible with your active schedule. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while going to 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 part-time, confirm it is an option also. Even if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is should you have to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Pick the Right Phlebotomist Training near Jonesboro Arkansas
Making sure that you pick the most suitable phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are found in a wide range of educational institutes, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program offerings can vary somewhat from state to state as every state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to diligently research and compare each program before making your ultimate decision. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomy program for you. And with the proper training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Jonesboro AR.