How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Technician School near North Little Rock AR
Enrolling in the right phlebotomy training near North Little Rock AR is an important first step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting undertaking to investigate and compare each of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you receive a quality education. In reality, many prospective students start the process by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another factor you might look into 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 keep in mind is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and must be part of your selection process also. To assist in that effort, 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 right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Technician Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their main duty, there is actually much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the tools being employed are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork has to be correctly completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab screening process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in North Little Rock AR laboratories and are accountable for making certain that samples are analyzed correctly utilizing the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they can be required to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The easiest response is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are numerous and diverse, such as North Little Rock AR medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be charged to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a particular type of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients every day.
Phlebotomy Training, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily two 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 provides a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program offer a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. Although not mandated in most states, many North Little Rock AR employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. Some of the main certifying agencies include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are several states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, like California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a premium education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Colleges
To start with, let's resolve one possible misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A good component of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical part of the training can be accessed online, it might be a more practical alternative for many North Little Rock AR students. As an added benefit, many online colleges are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some costs, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist college you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a premium education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the right option for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomist 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 might have already chosen the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is important 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 phlebotomist college. All of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are reviewing before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you pick should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a superior education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Last, 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 Program's Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of any colleges you are considering. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even check with some North Little Rock AR clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and see if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the Arkansas school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Provided? First, contact 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. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Included? Ask the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional health care facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on practical training typically not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local North Little Rock AR medical community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the North Little Rock AR healthcare community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to verify that the final college you pick offers classes at times that are compatible with your hectic lifestyle. This is particularly true if you decide to continue working while attending college. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near North Little Rock AR, make certain they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure 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 protocol is in case you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Choose the Right Phlebotomy Training near North Little Rock Arkansas
Making certain that you choose the most suitable phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomist training programs are offered in a number of educational institutes, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide assortment of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings may vary somewhat from state to state as each state has its own mandates when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must carefully screen and compare each program before making your final selection. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the right phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in North Little Rock AR.