How to Pick the Right Phlebotomy Technician Training Program near North Little Rock AR
Enrolling in the right phlebotomy technician school near North Little Rock AR is an important first step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult undertaking to assess and compare each of the training alternatives that are available to you. However it's vital that you do your due diligence to make certain that you receive a superior education. In reality, a large number of potential students begin their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional factor you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll talk more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and must be part of your decision process as well. To assist in that effort, 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 best one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomist Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main function, there is in fact far 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 data. Next, paperwork needs to be accurately filled out to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory screening procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in North Little Rock AR laboratories and are accountable for making sure that samples are tested correctly utilizing the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they can be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The quickest response is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, including North Little Rock AR hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be charged to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a particular type of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be collecting blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily 2 kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to finish and offers a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they normally require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program offer a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not required in most states, most North Little Rock AR employers require certification prior to employing technicians. A few 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, such as Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a quality education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Colleges
First, let's resolve one likely mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial portion of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed online, it might be a more convenient option for many North Little Rock AR students. As an added benefit, a number of online colleges are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenses, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered also. Just verify that the online phlebotomist program you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a premium education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the right choice for you.
Should You Train to Be a Plebotomist?Right out of the gate, few people probably know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have previously discussed, the short answer is a medical professional whose job is to draw blood. So of course anyone who selects this profession must be comfortable with blood and needles. 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 often work around nervous people who hate needles or having their blood drawn. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you will probably be expected to work weekends, nights and even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the needles and blood, and if you enjoy helping people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the perfect profession for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Since you now have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already picked the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is important 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. All of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Following are several questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are reviewing before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed 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 select a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you pick should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the North Little Rock AR job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of all schools you are considering. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even talk to some North Little Rock AR clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Arkansas school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Adequate Training Provided? First, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with regional health care facilities. They are the ideal means to obtain hands-on clinical training often not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local North Little Rock AR healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the North Little Rock AR medical community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's important to make sure that the final college you choose offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is particularly true if you choose to still work while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near North Little Rock AR, make sure they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option also. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain 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 illness or emergencies.
Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near North Little Rock Arkansas
Making sure that you pick the most suitable phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomist training programs are found in a wide range of academic institutions, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive assortment of programs in medical care and health sciences. Program options may differ slightly across the country as every state has its own requirements when it concerns phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must carefully screen and compare each school before making your ultimate choice. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the best phlebotomy college for you. And with the proper education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in North Little Rock AR.