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Become a Phlebotomist in Pine Bluff Arkansas

How to Pick the Best Phlebotomy Tech Training Course near Pine Bluff AR

Pine Bluff AR phlebotomist drawing blood from patientChoosing the ideal phlebotomist training near Pine Bluff AR is a critical first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging undertaking to assess and compare all of the school options that are accessible to you. However it's important that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a superior education. In fact, most potential students begin the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Another factor you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll talk a bit more about online schools later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and need to be part of your decision process as well. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you pick the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online classes.

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Phlebotomist Career Summary

Pine Bluff AR phlebotomist lab technicianA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their main responsibility, there is actually much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the tools being employed are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork must be accurately completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory 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. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Pine Bluff AR laboratories and are responsible for ensuring that samples are tested properly using the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.

Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?

The simplest response is wherever there are patients. Their work places are numerous and varied, including Pine Bluff AR medical clinics, hospitals, 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 phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a particular kind of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be collecting blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.

Phlebotomist Training, Certification and Licensing

blood testing performed in Pine Bluff AR laboratoryThere are basically 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to finish and offers a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they typically require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program provide a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, many Pine Bluff AR employers require certification prior to 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 some states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, including California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a superior education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.

Phlebotomist Online Training

Pine Bluff AR woman attending phlebotomy classes onlineFirst, let's dispel one potential mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial portion of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical portion of the training can be attended online, it can be a more practical alternative for some Pine Bluff AR students. As an additional benefit, many online programs are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenditures, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy program you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a superior education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online might be the ideal option for you.

Should You Choose a Career as a Phlebotomy Technician?

Right out of the gate, not many people are likely to know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have previously discussed, the basic definition is a health care professional whose job is to draw blood. So of course anyone who selects this profession must be able to handle blood and needles. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Pine Bluff AR medical environments, well this job probably is not right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Techs often work around anxious people who don’t like needles or having their blood taken. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you will probably be required to work weekends, evenings and even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the blood and needles, and if you enjoy helping people and are patient and compassionate, this may be the right profession for you.

Subjects to Ask Phlebotomist Schools

Questions to ask Pine Bluff AR phlebotomy schoolsNow that you have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the type of program you intend 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 as well as the cost of tuition. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online school. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the process for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are looking at prior to making your final decision.

Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite 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 very important to select a phlebotomy program that complies with 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 Program Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you pick should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the Pine Bluff AR job market.

What is the Program's Ranking? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also talk to some Pine Bluff AR clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and see if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Arkansas school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.

Is Ample Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out 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 practical training. Anything below these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish adequate training.

Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with local health care facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on practical training often not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Pine Bluff AR healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Finding your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Pine Bluff AR medical community.

Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's important to verify that the ultimate college you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is particularly true if you decide to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Pine Bluff AR, make sure they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, 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 completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is should you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.

Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Training near Pine Bluff Arkansas

Making sure that you choose the most suitable phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care field. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomist 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 range of programs in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings can differ slightly from state to state as each state has its own prerequisites when it comes to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must thoroughly evaluate and compare each school before making your ultimate selection. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the best phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Pine Bluff AR.