How to Find the Right Phlebotomist School near Pine Bluff AR
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomy technician school near Pine Bluff AR is a critical initial step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting task to evaluate and compare all of the school alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you do your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a superior education. In fact, many potential students start their search by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional option you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll talk a bit more about online classes later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is much 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 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 select the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online schools.
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Phlebotomist Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary task, there is actually much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the instruments being utilized are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be properly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork must be accurately filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Pine Bluff AR labs and are in charge of ensuring that samples are analyzed correctly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they may be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The easiest answer is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, including Pine Bluff AR hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a specific kind of patient. For instance, those working 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 drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients each day.
Phlebotomist Education, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes under 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 phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will include training to become a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they typically take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program furnish a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. While not required in most states, a number of Pine Bluff AR employers look for certification before hiring technicians. Some of the key 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 in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, including California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a superior education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Classes
First, let's resolve one potential misconception. 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. However since the non-practical component of the training may be attended online, it can be a more practical alternative for some Pine Bluff AR students. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenses, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist school you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online may be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Since you now have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the type 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 relevant if you will be commuting from Pine Bluff AR in addition to the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy college. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, 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 completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be working and prepares you for all examinations you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a superior education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are typically not available for non-accredited colleges. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Pine Bluff AR job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of all schools you are reviewing. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even talk to several Pine Bluff AR clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and see if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the Arkansas school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Ample 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 amount of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Provided? Ask the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with regional medical facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on practical training often not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Pine Bluff AR health care community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Finding your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Pine Bluff AR health care community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to make sure that the ultimate program you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your active schedule. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend 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 in case you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training near Pine Bluff Arkansas
Making certain that you enroll in the right phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare field. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomist training programs are offered in a number of educational institutes, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive range of programs in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings may vary slightly across the country as each state has its own requirements when it concerns phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must thoroughly screen and compare each program prior to making your ultimate decision. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the best phlebotomy program for you. And with the proper education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Pine Bluff AR.