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Become a Phlebotomist in Pine Bluff Arkansas

How to Pick the Best Phlebotomist School near Pine Bluff AR

Pine Bluff AR phlebotomy tech drawing bloodPicking the right phlebotomy technician training near Pine Bluff AR is a critical first step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult undertaking to assess and compare all of the training alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a quality education. In fact, many potential students start their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another option you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll talk more about online schools later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and must be part of your selection process also. To assist in that effort, 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 best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online schools.

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Phlebotomy Tech Work Description

Pine Bluff AR phlebotomy lab technicianA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main task, there is actually much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the instruments being utilized are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork needs to be correctly completed to be able 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 tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Pine Bluff AR labs and are in charge of making certain that samples are analyzed correctly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they might be required to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.

Where are Phlebotomists Employed?

The simplest response is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are many and varied, such as Pine Bluff AR hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a particular type of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients on a daily basis.

Phlebotomy Technician Education, Certification and Licensing

blood analysis done in Pine Bluff AR laboratoryThere are essentially two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to complete and provides a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest route 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. Available at community and junior colleges, they normally require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program provide a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, most Pine Bluff AR employers require certification before hiring technicians. A few of the main certifying organizations 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 phlebotomist, such as Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a superior education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.

Phlebotomist Online Schools

Pine Bluff AR student attending phlebotomy school onlineTo start with, let's dispel one potential mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant component of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical part of the training can be accessed online, it could be a more convenient alternative for some Pine Bluff AR students. As an added benefit, many online programs are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist college you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online might be the right option for you.

What to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges

Now that you have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already picked the kind 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 significant if you will be commuting from Pine Bluff AR as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online college. All of these decisions are a critical part of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are considering prior to making your final decision.

Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Arkansas? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed before working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. 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 working and preps you for all exams you may be required to take.

Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a premium education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification examination 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 prospective employers in the Pine Bluff AR job market.

What is the School'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 in addition to accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of all schools you are considering. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also contact some Pine Bluff AR hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Arkansas school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.

Is Adequate Training Included? First, check with the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer adequate training.

Are Internships Included? Ask the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with regional medical facilities. They are the ideal means to receive hands-on clinical training often not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Pine Bluff AR healthcare community. And they look good on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Help Available? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Pine Bluff AR health care community.

Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's critical to confirm that the final college you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is particularly true if you choose to still work while attending college. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Pine Bluff AR, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure 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 due to emergencies or illness.

Choose the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Pine Bluff Arkansas

Pine Bluff AR phlebotomist lab blood testingMaking certain that you select the most suitable phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare field. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomist training programs are available in a variety of educational institutes, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings can vary somewhat across the country as every state has its own requirements when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to carefully screen and compare each school prior to making your final selection. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the right phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Pine Bluff AR.