How to Choose the Best Phlebotomy Tech School near Little Rock AR
Picking the right phlebotomist training near Little Rock AR is an essential initial step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting undertaking to assess and compare all of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a superior education. In reality, many potential students begin their search by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional option you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll talk a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and need to 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 evaluating to help you choose the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Technician Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their principal duty, there is actually far more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork has to be correctly filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab screening process. 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. Some phlebotomists actually work in Little Rock AR laboratories and are in charge of making sure that samples are tested correctly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they might be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The easiest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are many and diverse, such as Little Rock AR medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be charged to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a certain kind of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be drawing blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients every day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially 2 kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to complete and provides a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program provide a more extensive background in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. While not mandated in most states, many Little Rock AR employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. Some 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 some states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, including California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a premium education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Colleges
First, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial part of the program of studies 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 in order to graduate. But since the non-practical component of the training can be accessed online, it can be a more convenient alternative for many Little Rock AR students. As an added benefit, some online schools are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist college you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online might be the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Since you now have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already selected the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is relevant if you will be commuting from Little Rock AR in addition to the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online college. All of these decisions are a critical part of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are considering prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be working and prepares you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Little Rock AR job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of all schools you are looking at. You can begin by requesting references from the schools 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 check with some Little Rock AR clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the Arkansas school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Ample Training Provided? First, contact 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 considering should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out from the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with local medical facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on practical training typically not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Little Rock AR health care community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Finding your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Little Rock AR medical community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's crucial to verify that the final program you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your hectic lifestyle. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while going to college. 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, verify 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 find out what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training near Little Rock Arkansas
Making certain that you pick the most suitable phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare career position. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be found in a wide range of educational institutions, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive range of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Course options can vary somewhat across the country as every state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to thoroughly screen and compare each program before making your ultimate decision. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the best phlebotomist school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Little Rock AR.