How to Select the Best Phlebotomy Tech School near North Little Rock AR
Choosing the ideal phlebotomist training near North Little Rock AR is an essential initial step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult undertaking to investigate and compare each of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's important that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you get a quality education. In reality, most potential students begin the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional factor you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and must be part of your selection process too. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select 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 classes.
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Phlebotomy Tech Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their main task, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the tools being utilized are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork must be properly completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in North Little Rock AR laboratories and are accountable for making sure that samples are tested correctly utilizing the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they can be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The easiest response is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are many and diverse, including North Little Rock AR hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a particular kind of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be collecting blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily 2 kinds of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to complete and furnishes a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they normally take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program furnish a more extensive background in lab sciences. After 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 look for certification before employing technicians. Some of the primary 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 additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a superior education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Schools
To start with, let's resolve one likely mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant component of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be conducted 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 portion of the training can be accessed online, it can be a more convenient alternative for some North Little Rock AR students. As an additional benefit, some online schools are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenditures, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy college you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Now that you have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is significant if you will be commuting from North Little Rock AR as well as the cost of tuition. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy school. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are looking at prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomy program that meets 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 College Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you pick 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 school in addition to an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future employers in the North Little Rock AR job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of all schools you are looking at. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even contact a few North Little Rock AR clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and find out if they can provide any insights. As a closing 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 Sufficient Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internships Included? Ask the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with area healthcare facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on practical training frequently not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local North Little Rock AR health care community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Getting your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the North Little Rock AR health care community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? Finally, it's important to verify that the ultimate school you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is particularly true if you opt to still work while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near North Little Rock AR, make certain they are offered at those times. Additionally, 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 practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is should you have to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Training near North Little Rock Arkansas
Making sure that you select the right phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding health care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are offered in a variety of academic institutions, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide assortment of programs in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings can vary slightly from state to state as every state has its own prerequisites when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to diligently evaluate and compare each program prior to making your ultimate selection. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the right phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in North Little Rock AR.