How to Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Technician Training Program near Pine Bluff AR
Selecting the ideal phlebotomist training near Pine Bluff AR is an essential first step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult undertaking to evaluate and compare each of the training options that are available to you. However it's vital that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you receive a superior education. In reality, most prospective students begin their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional factor you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll review more about online schools later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation 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 should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you choose the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online schools.
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Phlebotomist Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their principal responsibility, there is actually far more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork must be accurately filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Pine Bluff AR laboratories and are accountable for making sure that samples are tested correctly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they can be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery 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 hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a certain kind of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be drawing blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients every day.
Phlebotomy Training, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to finish and provides a general education together with 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, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program furnish a more extensive background in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not required in the majority of states, most Pine Bluff AR employers look for certification before employing technicians. A few 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, including Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a quality education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Colleges
To start with, let's resolve one possible misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A good part of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical component of the training may be attended online, it could be a more convenient alternative for many Pine Bluff AR students. As an added benefit, many online colleges are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenses, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered also. Just verify that the online phlebotomist college you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the best choice for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Now that you 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 kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is important if you will be commuting from Pine Bluff AR in addition to the cost of tuition. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online program. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the process for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are looking at prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be working and prepares you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you pick should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a premium education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are typically not available for non-accredited programs. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Pine Bluff AR job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to investigate the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job placement program. You can research online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also 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 final thought, you can contact the Arkansas school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Included? First, 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 looking at should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with regional medical facilities. They are the optimal way to obtain hands-on practical training typically not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Pine Bluff AR healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Finding your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Pine Bluff AR health care community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to verify that the ultimate college you choose provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is especially true if you opt to still work while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evenings 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 as well. Even 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 procedure is should you have to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Choose the Best Phlebotomy Training near Pine Bluff Arkansas
Making sure that you pick the most suitable phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying health care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomy training programs are found in a wide range of academic institutes, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program options can vary somewhat from state to state as every state has its own criteria when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to diligently research and compare each program before making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the ideal phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Pine Bluff AR.