How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Little Rock AR
Picking the right phlebotomist school near Little Rock AR is an essential first step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging task to analyze and compare all of the school options that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you receive a superior education. In reality, most students begin their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another factor you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll discuss more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and need to be part of your decision process too. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you select the best one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomy Technician Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their primary duty, there is in fact far more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the tools being utilized are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be properly completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab screening procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Little Rock AR labs and are in charge of ensuring that samples are analyzed properly using the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they might be asked to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The easiest response is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are many and diverse, such as Little Rock AR hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a specific type of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients every day.
Phlebotomist Education, Licensing and Certification
There are basically 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to finish and provides a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. 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 typically require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program furnish a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, a number of Little Rock AR employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. A few of the key certifying organizations include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are a few states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a quality education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Schools
First, let's resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial component of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical component of the training may be accessed online, it may be a more convenient alternative for many Little Rock AR students. As an added benefit, a number of online colleges are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some costs, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist college you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a quality education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the best choice for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Now that you have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to start 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 significant if you will be commuting from Little Rock AR as well as the tuition expense. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. All of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state 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, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you choose should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a superior education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are typically not available for non-accredited colleges. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Little Rock AR job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In a number of states there is little 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 investigate the reputations of any colleges you are reviewing. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also talk to some Little Rock AR clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and see if they can offer any insights. As a closing thought, you can check with the Arkansas school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Adequate Training Provided? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internships Provided? Ask the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with area medical facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on practical training often not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Little Rock AR health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Finding your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are looking at 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 program has both a good reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Little Rock AR healthcare community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's important to confirm that the ultimate program you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is especially important if you decide to still work while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Little Rock AR, make sure they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option also. And if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is in case you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist Training near Little Rock Arkansas
Making certain that you select the right phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare field. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomy training programs are available in a number of educational institutes, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings may vary somewhat across the country as every state has its own criteria when it concerns phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must thoroughly evaluate and compare each school prior to making your final decision. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the best phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Little Rock AR.