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Become a Phlebotomist in Pine Bluff Arkansas

How to Select the Right Phlebotomy Tech School near Pine Bluff AR

Pine Bluff AR phlebotomist drawing blood from patientSelecting the right phlebotomy technician training near Pine Bluff AR is a critical first step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting task to evaluate and compare each of the training options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's important that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a quality education. In fact, most potential students begin their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Another option you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss more about online schools later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and must be part of your selection process also. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you pick the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online classes.

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Phlebotomy Tech Career Summary

Pine Bluff AR phlebotomy laboratory technicianA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their principal duty, there is in fact far more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the tools being used are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be accurately filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Pine Bluff AR laboratories and are responsible for ensuring that samples are tested correctly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be required to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.

Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?

The simplest answer is wherever there are patients. Their work places are numerous and diverse, such as Pine Bluff AR hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a particular type of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients on a daily basis.

Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification

blood analysis performed in Pine Bluff AR laboratoryThere are primarily 2 kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to complete and furnishes a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they normally require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program offer a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. Although not required in the majority of states, many Pine Bluff AR employers look for certification before employing technicians. Some of the principal 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 require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, like California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a quality education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.

Phlebotomy Online Schools

Pine Bluff Arkansas student attending phlebotomy training onlineTo begin with, let's resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant portion of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical component of the training may be attended online, it may be a more practical alternative for many Pine Bluff AR students. As an added benefit, many online classes are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist school 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 premium education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the best option for you.

Subjects to Ask Phlebotomist Schools

Now that you have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may 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 college is relevant if you will be commuting from Pine Bluff AR in addition to the tuition expense. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online school. Each of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you should ask about each of the colleges you are reviewing prior to making your final selection.

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. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be working and prepares you for any exams you may have to take.

Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you select should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a quality education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Pine Bluff AR job market.

What is the Program's Ranking? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of all colleges you are reviewing. You can start by asking the schools for references 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 agencies for their reviews also. You can also check with a few Pine Bluff AR hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and see if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the Arkansas school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.

Is Sufficient Training Provided? First, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount 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 (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to furnish sufficient training.

Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with local healthcare facilities. They are the optimal way to obtain hands-on practical training frequently not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Pine Bluff AR medical community. And they look good on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Help Available? Landing your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges 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 large network of professional contacts within the Pine Bluff AR medical community.

Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's crucial to make sure that the final college you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is especially true if you opt to still work while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Pine Bluff 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. And 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 protocol is should you have to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.

Choose the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Pine Bluff Arkansas

Pine Bluff AR phlebotomist laboratory blood analysisMaking certain that you choose the ideal phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are found in a number of educational institutions, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options can vary somewhat from state to state as each state has its own requirements when it pertains to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must thoroughly screen and compare each college prior to making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the best phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Pine Bluff AR.