How to Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Little Rock AR
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomy technician training near Little Rock AR is an important initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting undertaking to evaluate and compare each of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you get a superior education. In reality, many students start the process 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 online classes 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 much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your decision 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 select the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their primary responsibility, there is in fact far more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the tools being utilized are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork needs to be accurately completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory screening 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 infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Little Rock AR labs and are responsible for making sure that samples are tested correctly under the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they might be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The most basic response is wherever there are patients. Their work places are many and diverse, such as 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 infants or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a specific kind of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily 2 types of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to complete and offers a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they typically take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program provide a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not required in most states, most Little Rock AR employers require certification before employing technicians. A few of the main 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 in order to practice as a phlebotomist, including Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you enroll in a phlebotomy 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.
Phlebotomist Online Certificates and Degrees
First, let's dispel one possible misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial portion 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. Many courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical component of the training can be accessed online, it may be a more convenient option for some Little Rock AR students. As an additional benefit, some online classes are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenses, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomy program you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a premium education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online might be the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Now that you have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already selected the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is important if you will be commuting from Little Rock AR in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online school. Each of these decisions are an important part of the process for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about all of the colleges you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Arkansas? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed before working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. 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 working and preps you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you pick should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive 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 phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of any schools you are looking at. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also contact a few Little Rock AR clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and find out if they can offer any insights. As a final 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 Provided? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Find out from the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with local healthcare facilities. They are the ideal means to obtain hands-on clinical training often not obtainable on campus. As an added 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 Available? Getting your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Little Rock AR medical community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? Finally, it's important to verify that the ultimate school you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night 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 also. Even 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 in case you need to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Little Rock Arkansas
Making sure that you enroll in the ideal phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomy training programs are found in a number of educational institutes, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course options may vary somewhat from state to state as each state has its own prerequisites when it comes to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to thoroughly research and compare each program prior to making your final selection. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the ideal phlebotomist school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Little Rock AR.