How to Choose the Best Phlebotomy Training Classes near Sherwood AR
Selecting the right phlebotomy school near Sherwood AR is a critical first step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult undertaking to investigate and compare each of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you do your due diligence to ensure that you receive a quality education. In reality, a large number of prospective students begin their search by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Another factor you might consider is whether to attend online classes 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 far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and must 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 select the best one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Tech Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their main responsibility, there is actually so much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork needs to be properly filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Sherwood AR laboratories and are responsible for ensuring that samples are analyzed correctly utilizing the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they can be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The easiest response is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are many and diverse, such as Sherwood AR medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be charged to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a specific type of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients every day.
Phlebotomist Education, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to complete and offers a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they typically require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program offer a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. Although not mandated in most states, many Sherwood AR employers look for 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 a few states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, like California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a superior education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Colleges
To begin with, let's dispel one potential mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial component of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical part of the training can be attended online, it might be a more practical option for many Sherwood AR students. As an added benefit, many online colleges are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist college you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a premium education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
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 might have already picked the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is relevant if you will be commuting from Sherwood AR in addition to the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy school. All of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are reviewing before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be working and prepares you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you enroll in 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 many advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a premium education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Sherwood AR job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy 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 schools you are reviewing. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also check with a few Sherwood AR clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest 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 complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Provided? To begin with, contact 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 furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Provided? Ask the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with area healthcare facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on clinical training often not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Sherwood AR health care community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Getting your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Sherwood AR healthcare community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's important to make sure that the final college you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Sherwood AR, make sure they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option also. 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 procedure is should you have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Sherwood Arkansas
Making sure that you enroll in the ideal phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomist training programs are offered in a number of academic institutes, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide range of programs in medical care and health sciences. Program options may differ slightly from state to state as each state has its own prerequisites when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must carefully evaluate and compare each program before making your final choice. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the ideal phlebotomy school for you. And with the proper education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Sherwood AR.