How to Select the Best Phlebotomist School near Little Rock AR
Choosing the right phlebotomist training near Little Rock AR is an essential first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting undertaking to investigate and compare all of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's important that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you receive a superior education. In reality, many potential students start the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Another option you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll talk more about online classes later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation 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 best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomist Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their principal task, there is actually far more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the instruments being used are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork must be properly completed in order to track the sample from the time 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 can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Little Rock AR labs and are in charge of ensuring that samples are tested correctly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they can be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The simplest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, such as Little Rock AR hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be charged to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a certain kind of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be collecting blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two types of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to complete and furnishes a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they normally take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program furnish a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not required in most states, most Little Rock AR employers look for certification before employing 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 some states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, like California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's important that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a quality education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Colleges
To start with, let's dispel one likely mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial portion of the course of study will be practical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed online, it can be a more practical option for many Little Rock AR students. As an added benefit, some online colleges are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy program you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a premium education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Since you now have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already picked the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is significant 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 online phlebotomist college. All of these decisions are a critical component of the process for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Following are a few questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are considering prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be working and prepares you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you pick should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting agency, such as 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 superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification examination offered 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, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Little Rock AR job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some 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 students as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also check with some Little Rock AR hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and find out if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the Arkansas school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Included? First, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should provide no less than 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 sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Find out from the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with local health care facilities. They are the ideal means to get hands-on practical training typically not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Little Rock AR healthcare community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Getting your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, 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 Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's important to confirm that the final program you choose provides classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is especially important if you decide to still work while going to school. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Little Rock AR, make sure they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is in case you need to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training near Little Rock Arkansas
Making sure that you enroll in the most suitable phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare field. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomist training programs are offered in a wide range of academic institutions, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive assortment of programs in medical care and health sciences. Program options can vary somewhat across the country as every state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to carefully screen and compare each college before making your final selection. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the ideal phlebotomy program for you. And with the proper training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Little Rock AR.