How to Find the Right Phlebotomy Technician Training Course near Little Rock AR
Selecting the ideal phlebotomist school near Little Rock AR is an important initial step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult task to assess and compare each of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you receive a quality education. In fact, many prospective students begin their search by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another option you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss more about online schools 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 factors including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and need to be part of your decision process as well. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you pick the ideal 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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Phlebotomy Technician Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their main duty, there is actually far more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the tools being employed are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be properly completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Little Rock AR labs and are accountable for ensuring that samples are tested correctly using the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they may be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The most basic answer is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are numerous and diverse, such as Little Rock AR hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be charged to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a certain type of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Training, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to complete and provides a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they normally take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program furnish a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will probably want to be certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, most Little Rock AR employers require certification before employing technicians. Some 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 some states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, like Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a superior education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Training
To begin with, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant portion of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be carried out 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-clinical part of the training can be accessed online, it can be a more convenient option for many Little Rock AR students. As an additional benefit, many online programs are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some expenses, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist school you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a quality education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online may be the best choice for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Now that you have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is important if you will be commuting from Little Rock AR in addition to the cost of tuition. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online college. All of these decisions are an important part of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are reviewing prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might need 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 prepares you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages 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 exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree 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 many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of all schools you are considering. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also contact several Little Rock AR clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and find out if they can offer any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the Arkansas school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Ask the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with area health care facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on practical training frequently not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Little Rock AR health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Getting your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Little Rock AR medical community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's critical to make sure that the final school you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is especially true if you opt to still work while attending school. If you need to 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, make sure it is an option also. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is should you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Pick the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Little Rock Arkansas
Making certain that you choose the ideal phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying health care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are found in a wide range of academic institutions, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide assortment of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options may differ a bit across the country as each state has its own criteria when it concerns phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to diligently evaluate and compare each program before making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomy program for you. And with the appropriate training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Little Rock AR.