How to Select the Right Phlebotomy Tech Training Program near Little Rock AR
Picking the ideal phlebotomist school near Little Rock AR is a critical initial step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting undertaking to evaluate and compare each of the training options that are available to you. However it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you get a superior education. In fact, most potential students start the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional option you might 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 keep in mind is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and should be part of your selection process as well. To assist in that effort, we will supply 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 cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main responsibility, there is in fact far more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the tools being used are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample needs to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be accurately 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 an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Little Rock AR laboratories and are accountable for ensuring that samples are analyzed properly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they may be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The easiest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are many and diverse, such as Little Rock AR hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be charged to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a specific type of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Training, Certification and Licensing
There are basically 2 kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to finish and provides a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program offer a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, many Little Rock AR employers require certification before 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 several states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, like Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's important that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a premium education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Schools
First, let's resolve one possible misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant part of the course of study will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical part of the training can be attended online, it could be a more practical option for many Little Rock AR students. As an added benefit, a number of online programs are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist college you enroll in 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 study at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online may be the best choice for you.
Should You Choose a Career as a Phlebotomy Tech?Right out of the gate, not many people are likely to know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have previously discussed, the basic definition is a medical professional who draws blood from patients. So of course anyone who decides to enter this profession must be able to handle needles and blood. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Little Rock AR medical environments, well this profession probably is not the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Techs often work around nervous people who hate needles or having a blood sample taken. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably be required to work weekends, evenings and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the needles and blood, and if you enjoy helping people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the perfect profession for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Since you now have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the type of program you want 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 as well as the cost of tuition. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy college. All of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are reviewing before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. 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 practicing and readies you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you choose should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a premium education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Little Rock AR job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of any 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 placement program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even check with several Little Rock AR hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and find out if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can check with the Arkansas school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Adequate Training Included? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with area healthcare facilities. They are the optimal way to receive hands-on clinical training often not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Little Rock AR medical community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Getting your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Little Rock AR medical community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? And last, it's important to confirm that the ultimate college you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while going to college. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Little Rock 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 have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Choose the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Little Rock Arkansas
Making certain that you enroll in the ideal phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomist training programs can be found in a variety of educational institutes, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program offerings can differ slightly across the country as every state has its own requirements when it pertains to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must carefully evaluate and compare each college before making your ultimate selection. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the right phlebotomist school for you. And with the proper training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Little Rock AR.