How to Enroll in the Best Phlebotomist School near North Little Rock AR
Selecting the right phlebotomy school near North Little Rock AR is a critical initial step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting task 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 make sure that you receive a superior education. In fact, most potential students start their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional factor you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online schools 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 such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and must be part of your decision process also. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you pick the right 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 Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their principal function, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the tools being employed are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork has to be properly completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab 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. Many phlebotomists in fact work in North Little Rock AR labs and are accountable for making sure that samples are tested properly using the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The quickest answer is wherever there are patients. Their work places are numerous and diverse, such as North Little Rock AR hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a certain kind of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to complete and offers a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they typically require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program furnish a more extensive background in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, a number of North Little Rock AR employers require certification before hiring technicians. Some 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 require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, including Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a superior education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Colleges
To begin with, let's dispel one potential mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial portion of the course of study 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 completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical part of the training can be attended online, it can be a more practical alternative for some North Little Rock AR students. As an added benefit, some online colleges are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenses, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist program you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a superior education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the ideal option for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Now that you have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already selected the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is important if you will be commuting from North Little Rock AR as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist program. All of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure 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 programs you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. 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 preps you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you choose should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the North Little Rock AR job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of any 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 assistance program. You can research internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even talk to several North Little Rock AR clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and see if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the Arkansas school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Enough 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 classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomy 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 might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internships Provided? Find out from the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with area healthcare facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on clinical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local North Little Rock AR healthcare community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are looking at 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 college has both a good reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the North Little Rock AR health care community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's crucial to make sure that the ultimate school you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near North Little Rock AR, make sure they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option also. Even if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near North Little Rock Arkansas
Making sure that you pick the ideal phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomy training programs can be available in a wide range of academic institutes, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive assortment of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings can vary a bit across the country as every state has its own criteria when it concerns phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must thoroughly evaluate and compare each program before making your ultimate choice. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomist school for you. And with the proper education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in North Little Rock AR.