How to Select the Best Phlebotomy School near Little Rock AR
Picking the right phlebotomy technician training near Little Rock AR is an important initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging undertaking to analyze and compare each of the school options that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a superior education. In fact, many students begin the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another factor you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll review a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and must be part of your selection process also. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you select the right one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomy Technician Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their main function, there is actually so much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork must be properly filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory 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 infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Little Rock AR laboratories and are accountable for making sure that samples are analyzed correctly under the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be required to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The simplest answer is wherever there are patients. Their work places are many and diverse, including Little Rock AR medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a specific type of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients each day.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially 2 kinds of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to complete and provides a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they normally require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program offer a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not required in most states, many Little Rock AR employers look for certification prior to employing 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 some states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, like California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a superior education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Colleges
To begin with, let's dispel one possible misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A good component of the course of study will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical part of the training can be attended online, it could be a more convenient option for many Little Rock AR students. As an added benefit, a number of online classes are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenses, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomist college you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a premium education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online might be the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Now that you have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already decided on the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is significant if you will be commuting from Little Rock AR in addition to the cost of tuition. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy college. Each of these decisions are an important component of the process for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be working and readies you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you pick should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are often unavailable 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 School's Ranking? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's essential to investigate the reputations of any schools you are considering. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also contact a few Little Rock AR hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the Arkansas school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Ample Training Provided? First, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomist 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 indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with regional medical facilities. They are the optimal way to obtain hands-on practical training often not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Little Rock AR healthcare community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Finding your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Little Rock AR medical community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to verify that the ultimate school you pick offers classes at times that are compatible with your hectic lifestyle. This is particularly important if you opt to still work while going to college. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Little Rock AR, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is in case you need to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Little Rock Arkansas
Making sure that you pick the right 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 superior school. Phlebotomy training programs are found in a wide range of academic institutions, 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. Course offerings may differ slightly from state to state as every state has its own mandates when it comes to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to carefully evaluate and compare each school before making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomy college for you. And with the proper education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Little Rock AR.