How to Find the Right Phlebotomy Technician School near Jonesboro AR
Picking the right phlebotomy training near Jonesboro AR is a critical initial step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging undertaking to evaluate and compare all of the school alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you get a superior education. In fact, a large number of students start their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another factor you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss more about online classes later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and must be part of your decision process as well. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you pick the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomist Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary responsibility, there is actually much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the instruments being used are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample needs to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork needs to be correctly completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Jonesboro AR laboratories and are responsible for ensuring that samples are analyzed correctly utilizing the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they may be required to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The simplest response is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are many and varied, including Jonesboro AR medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a certain type of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients every day.
Phlebotomist Training, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two types of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to finish and provides a general education along 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, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program furnish a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not required in the majority of states, a number of Jonesboro AR employers look for certification before employing technicians. Some of the main certifying organizations 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, including Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a superior education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Certificates and Degrees
To begin with, let's resolve one possible misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A good part of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical portion of the training may be accessed online, it might be a more convenient option for some Jonesboro AR students. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomy college you select 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 disciplined enough to learn at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online might be the right option for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Now that you have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might 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 relevant if you will be commuting from Jonesboro AR as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. Each of these decisions are an important part of the process for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the colleges you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be working and preps you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you select should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are typically not available for non-accredited colleges. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future employers in the Jonesboro AR job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of all schools 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 assistance program. You can screen online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also check with several Jonesboro AR hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and see if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the Arkansas school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Included? First, check with the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with local medical facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on clinical training often not provided on campus. As an additional 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 Provided? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges 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 as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Jonesboro AR medical community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? Finally, it's critical to make sure that the final school you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is particularly important if you decide to still work while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Jonesboro AR, check that they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option also. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is in case you need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Choose the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Jonesboro Arkansas
Making certain that you enroll in the ideal phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be available in a number of academic institutes, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive assortment of courses in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings can differ somewhat across the country as each state has its own requirements when it pertains to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must thoroughly screen and compare each school prior to making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the ideal phlebotomist college for you. And with the proper training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Jonesboro AR.