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Become a Phlebotomist in Pine Bluff Arkansas

How to Select the Best Phlebotomy Tech Training Classes near Pine Bluff AR

Pine Bluff AR phlebotomy tech drawing bloodSelecting the ideal phlebotomy technician school near Pine Bluff AR is an important first step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult undertaking to analyze and compare all of the training options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you do your due diligence to ensure that you get a superior education. In reality, many students start their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss more about online schools later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and should be part of your selection process as well. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you choose the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online schools.

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Phlebotomist Work Summary

Pine Bluff AR phlebotomy laboratory technicianA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their main task, there is actually so much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork needs to be accurately completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. 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. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Pine Bluff AR laboratories and are responsible for making sure that samples are analyzed correctly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they can be required to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.

Where are Phlebotomists Employed?

The most basic response is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are numerous and diverse, such as Pine Bluff AR medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a certain type 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 working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients each day.

Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification

blood testing performed in Pine Bluff AR laboratoryThere are basically two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to complete and offers a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomist. 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. Available at community and junior colleges, they usually require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, many Pine Bluff AR employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. A few of the key 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 call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, including Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a premium education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.

Online Phlebotomy Colleges

Pine Bluff Arkansas woman attending phlebotomy school onlineTo begin with, let's dispel one potential misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant component of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical component of the training may be attended online, it might be a more practical alternative for some Pine Bluff AR students. As an additional benefit, many online colleges are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some costs, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist school you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a premium education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the best choice for you.

Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Programs

Now that you have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already selected the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus 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 phlebotomist online school. All of these decisions are a critical component of the process for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about each of the colleges you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision.

Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be working and prepares you for any examinations you may have to take.

Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you pick should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to a guarantee of a quality education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited schools. 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 College's Reputation? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of all schools you are considering. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. 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 find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.

Is Sufficient Training Included? First, contact the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to provide adequate training.

Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with area health care facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on practical training typically not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Pine Bluff AR medical community. And they are a plus on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Support Offered? Landing your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Pine Bluff AR healthcare community.

Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's important to verify that the final school you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Pine Bluff AR, make certain they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option as well. 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 should you have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.

Learn How to Become a Phlebotomist

Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Training near Pine Bluff Arkansas

Making sure that you enroll in the right phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying health care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomy training programs are found in a number of educational institutes, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings can vary slightly across the country as every state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must carefully research and compare each college before making your final decision. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the ideal phlebotomist college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Pine Bluff AR.