How to Enroll in the Best Phlebotomist Training Classes near Pine Bluff AR
Picking the right phlebotomy technician training near Pine Bluff AR is an essential first step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging undertaking to investigate and compare all of the school options that are available to you. However it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you get a superior education. In reality, a large number of students start their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another option you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll talk a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and should be part of your decision process also. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you choose the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their primary responsibility, there is actually so much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork needs to be accurately 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 may be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Pine Bluff AR labs and are accountable for making certain that samples are tested properly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they can be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The easiest answer is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are many and diverse, such as Pine Bluff AR hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a certain kind of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients every day.
Phlebotomy Training, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially 2 kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to finish and provides a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they typically require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program offer a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not mandated in most states, a number of Pine Bluff AR employers require certification before hiring technicians. A few of the principal certifying organizations 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, including Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a quality education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Training
To start with, let's resolve one possible mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial component of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical component of the training can be attended online, it may be a more convenient option for many Pine Bluff AR students. As an added benefit, a number of online schools are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some costs, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy school you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
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 picked 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 school is significant if you will be commuting from Pine Bluff AR in addition to the tuition expense. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online program. All of these decisions are a critical component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are reviewing before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you pick should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a quality education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Pine Bluff AR job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, 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 begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even check with a few Pine Bluff AR clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest 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 complaints have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Enough Training Included? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out from the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with local medical facilities. They are the optimal way to get hands-on practical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Pine Bluff AR medical community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Landing your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Pine Bluff AR medical community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's important to confirm that the final program you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you decide to still work while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Pine Bluff AR, make certain they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option also. And if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is in case you need to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Choose the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Pine Bluff Arkansas
Making certain that you pick the right phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be offered in a wide range of educational institutes, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program options can differ slightly from state to state as every state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to diligently screen and compare each program prior to 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 select the ideal phlebotomist program for you. And with the appropriate training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Pine Bluff AR.