How to Find the Right Phlebotomist School near Little Rock AR
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomist school near Little Rock AR is a critical initial step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult task to assess and compare all of the training alternatives that are available to you. However it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a superior education. In fact, most students begin their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another option you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll review more about online classes later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and must be part of your decision process also. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you choose the best one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Tech Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary function, there is in fact far more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the tools being utilized are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be accurately completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Little Rock AR labs and are responsible for making certain that samples are analyzed correctly utilizing the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they might be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The easiest response is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are numerous and diverse, such as Little Rock AR medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be charged to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a certain type of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients each day.
Phlebotomist Training, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially two kinds of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to complete and offers a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they normally require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program furnish a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. Although not required in most states, many Little Rock AR employers look for certification prior to employing technicians. Some of the principal certifying agencies 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, including California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a premium education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Classes
To start with, let's resolve one possible misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant portion of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical component of the training may be attended online, it can be a more convenient alternative for many Little Rock AR students. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenses, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy school you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the ideal choice for you.
Should You Choose a Career as a Phlebotomy Technician?First of all, not many people are likely to know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have previously discussed, the basic answer is a medical professional who draws blood from patients. So of course anyone who chooses this profession must be OK around needles and blood. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Little Rock AR medical environments, well this profession may not be the best choice for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians often work with anxious people who don’t like needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you may be required to work weekends, evenings and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the needles and blood, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the right profession for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Since you now have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already selected the kind of program you intend 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 cost of tuition. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. Each of these decisions are an important part of the procedure 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 need to ask about all of the schools you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Arkansas? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you select should be accredited by a reputable 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 in addition to a guarantee of a premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited schools. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future employers in the Little Rock AR job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of all schools you are reviewing. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also contact some Little Rock AR hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and find out if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the Arkansas school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Adequate 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 length of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internships Provided? Find out from the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with regional medical facilities. They are the ideal means to get hands-on practical training often not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Little Rock AR health care community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Finding your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Little Rock AR medical community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's crucial to make sure that the final program you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while going to school. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Little Rock AR, make certain they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure 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 as a result of illness or emergencies.
Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training near Little Rock Arkansas
Making sure that you choose the most suitable phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be available in a number of educational institutes, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Course options can vary a bit across the country as every state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to carefully research and compare each program before making your final decision. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the best phlebotomist program for you. And with the appropriate training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Little Rock AR.