How to Select the Best Phlebotomist Training Classes near Pine Bluff AR
Picking the right phlebotomy technician school near Pine Bluff AR is an essential initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting undertaking to analyze and compare each of the training options that are available to you. However it's vital that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you get a quality education. In reality, a large number of potential students start their search by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss 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 closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and must be part of your selection process as well. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you select the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main duty, there is actually far more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample needs to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork must be correctly filled out in order to track the sample from the time 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 can be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Pine Bluff AR laboratories and are in charge of ensuring that samples are analyzed correctly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they might be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The most basic response is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are many and varied, including Pine Bluff AR medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be charged to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a particular kind of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients every day.
Phlebotomy Training, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally 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 fastest means to becoming a phlebotomist. 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. Offered at junior and community colleges, they usually take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program offer a more extensive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. While not required in the majority of states, a number of Pine Bluff AR employers look for certification before 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 several states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, like California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a premium education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Colleges
First, let's dispel one likely mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant component of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be conducted 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. However since the non-practical part of the training can be accessed online, it can be a more practical option for many Pine Bluff AR students. As an added benefit, a number of online colleges are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenditures, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist college you enroll in 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 premium education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the right choice for you.
Should You Train to Be a Phlebotomy Tech?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 who draws blood from patients. So naturally anyone who selects this profession must be OK around needles and blood. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Pine Bluff AR medical facilities, well this job probably is not right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomists often work with nervous people who don’t like needles or having their blood taken. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably be expected to work weekends, nights and even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the needles and blood, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the right profession for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Now that you have a general idea 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 want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is relevant if you will be commuting from Pine Bluff AR in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy school. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the colleges you are reviewing prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations 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 practical training completed before working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be working and preps you for all examinations you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you choose should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a quality education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future employers in the Pine Bluff AR job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check out the reputations of all colleges you are reviewing. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even talk to a few Pine Bluff AR clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and find out 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 filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Find out from the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with regional healthcare facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on practical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Pine Bluff AR health care community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Pine Bluff AR medical community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to make sure that the final school you pick offers classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is particularly important if you decide to still work while attending school. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Pine Bluff AR, make certain they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option as well. And 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 in case you have to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Pine Bluff Arkansas
Making certain that you select the ideal phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding health care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be available in a variety of educational institutes, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options may differ a bit across the country as each state has its own requirements when it concerns phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must thoroughly evaluate and compare each college prior to making your ultimate choice. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the best phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Pine Bluff AR.