How to Enroll in the Best Phlebotomist Training Course near Little Rock AR
Enrolling in the right phlebotomist school near Little Rock AR is a critical first step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting undertaking to investigate and compare all of the training options that are available to you. However it's vital that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you receive a quality education. In reality, many students begin their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Another factor you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll review 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 finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your decision process too. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you pick the right one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online schools.
Request Free information on Phlebotomy Training in Your Area
Phlebotomy Tech Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their main task, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the tools being employed are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork has to be correctly completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing procedure. 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 actually work in Little Rock AR labs and are in charge of making sure that samples are tested properly under the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they can be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The quickest response is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are numerous and varied, including Little Rock AR hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a certain kind of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients every day.
Phlebotomy Training, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily 2 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 offers a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they typically require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not required in most states, most Little Rock AR employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. Some of the main certifying agencies 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, like Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a superior education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Schools
To begin with, let's resolve one possible misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial portion 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 in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical part of the training may be accessed online, it may be a more convenient option for some Little Rock AR students. As an added benefit, some online schools are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy college you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online might be the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Now that you have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already picked the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is relevant if you will be commuting from Little Rock AR in addition to the tuition expense. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online college. Each of these decisions are an important part of the process for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are looking at before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed before working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be working and prepares you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a reputable 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 school in addition to an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited schools. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Little Rock AR job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of any schools you are looking at. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even talk to several Little Rock AR hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and see if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the Arkansas school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? First, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out from the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with area health care facilities. They are the ideal means to get hands-on practical training often not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Little Rock AR medical community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Landing your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Little Rock AR medical community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's critical to verify that the final school you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Little Rock AR, check that they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option also. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is should you need to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Choose the Right Phlebotomy Training near Little Rock Arkansas
Making sure that you pick the right phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be found in a variety of academic institutions, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive array of programs in medical care and health sciences. Program options can vary a bit across the country as each state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must carefully research and compare each program prior to making your final choice. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the right phlebotomy school for you. And with the proper education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Little Rock AR.