How to Pick the Best Phlebotomist Training Classes near North Little Rock AR
Picking the right phlebotomist school near North Little Rock AR is a critical first step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult undertaking to evaluate and compare each of the training options that are accessible to you. However it's important that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you receive a quality education. In reality, many potential students start their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially 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 classes later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is a lot 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 should be part of your decision process too. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you pick the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Technician Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary task, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be accurately completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be screened 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 analyzed correctly under the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they can be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The most basic answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are numerous and diverse, such as North Little Rock AR medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a certain kind of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Training, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to complete and provides a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program furnish a more expansive background in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. Although not required in the majority of states, many North Little Rock AR employers look for certification before hiring technicians. Some of the principal 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 call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, including California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's important that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a superior education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Certificates and Degrees
First, let's resolve one possible mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial component of the curriculum 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-clinical part of the training can be attended online, it may be a more practical alternative for many North Little Rock AR students. As an additional benefit, some online colleges are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist college you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online may be the ideal option for you.
Should You Become a Phlebotomy Tech?First of all, not many people probably know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have already discussed, the short definition is a health care professional whose job is to draw blood. So of course anyone who decides to enter this profession must be comfortable with needles and blood. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other North Little Rock AR medical environments, well this profession probably is not right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomists tend to work around anxious people who hate needles or having their blood drawn. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, you may be expected to work weekends, evenings and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the needles and blood, and if you enjoy helping people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the right profession for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Since you now have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already selected the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is relevant if you will be commuting from North Little Rock AR in addition to the tuition expense. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy college. All of these decisions are an important part of the process for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about all of the colleges you are considering prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed before working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be working and readies you for all examinations you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you choose should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a premium education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future employers in the North Little Rock AR job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In numerous 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 the reputations of all colleges 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 internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also check with some North Little Rock AR clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide 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 colleges are in full compliance.
Is Ample Training Included? First, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should furnish 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 expansive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out from the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with area medical facilities. They are the ideal means 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 health care community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Landing your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the North Little Rock AR medical community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's critical to confirm that the ultimate program you choose offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is especially true if you choose to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near North Little Rock AR, make certain they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is should you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near North Little Rock Arkansas
Making certain that you enroll in the ideal phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomy training programs can be found in a variety of educational institutions, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings can vary a bit from state to state as each state has its own mandates when it comes to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to thoroughly evaluate and compare each college prior to making your final decision. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomist program for you. And with the appropriate education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in North Little Rock AR.