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Become a Phlebotomist in North Little Rock Arkansas

How to Select the Best Phlebotomy Training Course near North Little Rock AR

North Little Rock AR phlebotomist drawing blood from patientChoosing the ideal phlebotomy training near North Little Rock AR is an important first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult undertaking to analyze and compare each of the school options that are available to you. However it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you get a superior education. In fact, many students start the process by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional option you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll talk a bit more about online schools 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 variables such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your selection process too. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select the best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online schools.

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Phlebotomist Job Summary

North Little Rock AR phlebotomist lab technicianA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their principal responsibility, there is actually much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the tools being used are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork must be properly completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab screening procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in North Little Rock AR labs and are accountable for making certain that samples are tested properly utilizing the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they might be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.

Where do Phlebotomists Work?

The most basic response is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are numerous and varied, including North Little Rock AR medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a certain type of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients every day.

Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing

blood testing performed in North Little Rock AR labThere are basically two kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to finish and provides a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they typically take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program offer a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not required in the majority of states, many North Little Rock AR employers require certification before employing technicians. A few of the primary certifying agencies 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 call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, including Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's important that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a quality education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.

Online Phlebotomist Schools

North Little Rock Arkansas student attending phlebotomy training onlineFirst, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant part of the course of study will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical part of the training can be attended online, it can be a more convenient alternative for some North Little Rock AR students. As an added benefit, a number of online programs are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenditures, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist college you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the right option for you.

Should You Go to School to Become a Phlebotomy Technician?

Right out of the gate, not many people probably know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have previously discussed, the basic definition is a medical professional whose job is to draw blood. So naturally anyone who selects this profession must be OK around needles and blood. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other North Little Rock AR medical environments, well this profession probably is not the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomists tend to work with anxious people who hate needles or having their blood taken. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably be required to work weekends, evenings and even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the needles and blood, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are patient and compassionate, this may be the perfect job for you.

Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Schools

What to ask North Little Rock AR phlebotomy schoolsSince you now have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already picked the type of program you want 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 North Little Rock AR in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online college. All of these decisions are an important component of the process for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you need to ask about each of the colleges you are reviewing before making your final selection.

Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be working and readies you for all exams you may have to take.

Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy 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 several benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a premium education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited programs. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the North Little Rock AR job market.

What is the Program's Reputation? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of all schools you are looking at. 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 research online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also check with several North Little Rock AR hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and see 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? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer sufficient training.

Are Internships Included? Ask the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with local health care facilities. They are the optimal way to get hands-on clinical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local North Little Rock AR medical community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Support Available? Landing your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the North Little Rock AR healthcare community.

Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's crucial to verify that the final program you choose offers classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while going to college. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near North Little Rock AR, check that they are offered at those times. Also, 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 practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is should you need to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.

Enroll in the Best Phlebotomist Training near North Little Rock Arkansas

Making certain that you select the ideal phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be offered in a number of academic institutes, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program options can differ slightly across the country as every state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must diligently evaluate and compare each school prior to making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the best phlebotomist college for you. And with the appropriate education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in North Little Rock AR.