How to Pick the Best Phlebotomy Technician Training Classes near Pine Bluff AR
Selecting the ideal phlebotomy technician school near Pine Bluff AR is an important initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting undertaking to assess and compare each of the school options that are available to you. However it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a superior education. In reality, many students begin the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional option you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll talk more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also important 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 evaluating 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 discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their principal function, there is actually far more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the instruments being utilized are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be properly filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Pine Bluff AR laboratories and are accountable for making certain that samples are analyzed correctly utilizing the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The most basic answer is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, including Pine Bluff AR medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be charged to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a particular type of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.
Phlebotomist Education, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily 2 types 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 basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they typically take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more expansive background in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not required in the majority of states, most Pine Bluff AR employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. A few 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 call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, like Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a premium education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Certificates and Degrees
To begin with, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant part of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of 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 convenient option for some Pine Bluff AR students. As an added benefit, many online schools are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy school you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online might be the right choice for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Since you now have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is relevant if you will be commuting from Pine Bluff AR as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy college. Each of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the colleges you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for 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 have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you select should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. 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 Pine Bluff AR job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of any schools you are looking at. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even contact a few Pine Bluff AR clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and see if they can offer any insights. As a closing thought, you can check with the Arkansas school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Enough Training Included? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with local healthcare facilities. They are the optimal way to get hands-on clinical training frequently not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Pine Bluff AR healthcare community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Landing your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Pine Bluff AR medical community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's important 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 decide to continue working while attending college. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Pine Bluff AR, make sure they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, 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 completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is should you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Choose the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Pine Bluff Arkansas
Making sure that you pick the ideal phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomist training programs are offered in a wide range of academic institutions, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings can vary a bit from state to state as every state has its own requirements when it comes to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must thoroughly screen and compare each program before making your final choice. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomy college for you. And with the proper education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Pine Bluff AR.