How to Pick the Best Phlebotomist School near North Little Rock AR
Picking the ideal phlebotomy technician training near North Little Rock AR is a critical first step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting undertaking to assess and compare each of the school alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's important that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a quality education. In fact, most students begin the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another factor you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local 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 cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and need to be part of your selection process also. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you choose the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Tech Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their principal function, there is actually so much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the instruments being used are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample needs to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork needs to be accurately filled out 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 in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in North Little Rock AR laboratories and are responsible for ensuring that samples are analyzed correctly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be required to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The most basic response is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are many and diverse, such as North 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 young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a particular type of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients every day.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Licensing and Certification
There are basically 2 kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to complete and furnishes a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they usually take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program provide a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. Although not required in the majority of states, many North Little Rock AR employers require certification prior to employing technicians. Some 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 a few states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, like Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a quality education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Classes
First, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant part of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical part of the training may be attended online, it may be a more practical alternative for many North Little Rock AR students. As an additional benefit, many online colleges are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy program you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a superior 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 right option for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Now that you have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is significant if you will be commuting from North Little Rock AR as well as the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist program. All of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the colleges you are looking at before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely 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 all exams you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you pick should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to a guarantee of a premium education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future employers in the North Little Rock AR job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of all colleges you are reviewing. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even check with a few North 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 closing thought, you can contact the Arkansas school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Provided? First, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Provided? Find out from the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with area healthcare facilities. They are the ideal means to get hands-on practical training frequently not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local North Little Rock AR health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Landing your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the North Little Rock AR medical community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to verify that the ultimate school you choose offers classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near North Little Rock AR, make certain they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is should you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Choose the Best Phlebotomy Training near North Little Rock Arkansas
Making certain that you select the most suitable phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomy training programs can be available in a wide range of academic institutions, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive assortment of programs in medical care and health sciences. Program offerings can differ slightly from state to state as each state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to diligently evaluate and compare each school prior to making your ultimate choice. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomist school for you. And with the appropriate education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in North Little Rock AR.