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Become a Phlebotomist in Pine Bluff Arkansas

How to Select the Right Phlebotomy School near Pine Bluff AR

Pine Bluff AR phlebotomy tech drawing blood from patientEnrolling in the ideal phlebotomy training near Pine Bluff AR is an important initial step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting undertaking to evaluate and compare all of the school options that are available to you. However it's vital that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a quality education. In fact, most students start the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional factor you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and need to be part of your decision process also. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online classes.

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Phlebotomy Tech Job Description

Pine Bluff AR phlebotomist laboratory technicianA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their principal duty, there is actually so much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the tools being utilized are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be correctly completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab screening procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Pine Bluff AR laboratories and are responsible for ensuring that samples are tested properly utilizing the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be asked to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.

Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?

The quickest response is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are many and varied, such as Pine Bluff AR medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a specific 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 practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients on a daily basis.

Phlebotomy Technician Education, Certification and Licensing

blood analysis done in Pine Bluff AR laboratoryThere are primarily two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to finish and offers a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they usually take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program provide a more extensive background in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, many Pine Bluff AR employers require certification prior to employing 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 a few states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, such as California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a quality education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.

Phlebotomist Online Certificates and Degrees

Pine Bluff AR woman attending phlebotomy classes onlineTo start with, let's resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant portion of the curriculum will be clinical 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. But since the non-practical component of the training can be attended online, it may be a more practical alternative for some Pine Bluff AR students. As an additional benefit, some online programs are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some expenses, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist school you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a premium education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online might be the ideal choice for you.

Should You Become a Plebotomist?

Right out of the gate, not many people are likely to know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have already discussed, the basic answer is a health care professional who draws blood from patients. So naturally anyone who decides to enter this profession must be OK around needles and blood. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Pine Bluff AR medical environments, well this job may not be the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Techs routinely work with anxious people who hate needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you will probably be expected to work weekends, nights and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the needles and blood, and if you enjoy helping people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the perfect profession for you.

Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges

Questions to ask Pine Bluff AR phlebotomy schoolsSince you now have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already decided on 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 college is significant if you will be commuting from Pine Bluff AR as well as the tuition expense. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy school. All of these decisions are a critical component of the process for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about all of the colleges you are looking at prior to making your final decision.

Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed before working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for any examinations you may be required to take.

Is the College 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 program aside from an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Pine Bluff AR job market.

What is the Program's Reputation? In many 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 investigate the reputations of all colleges you are reviewing. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also talk to several Pine Bluff AR hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can check with the Arkansas school licensing authority and find out 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 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 reviewing should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.

Are Internship Programs Included? Ask the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with local health care facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on clinical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Pine Bluff AR health care community. And they are a plus on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Pine Bluff AR medical community.

Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's important to confirm that the ultimate program you choose offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is particularly important if you opt to still work while attending school. If you need to attend classes in the evenings 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 attend 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 in case you need to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.

Choose the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Pine Bluff Arkansas

Making sure that you select the right phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomist training programs are available in a number of educational institutes, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive array of programs in medical care and health sciences. Program offerings can vary somewhat from state to state as each state has its own criteria when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must carefully evaluate and compare each college prior to making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the right phlebotomy program for you. And with the appropriate education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Pine Bluff AR.