How to Pick the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Springdale AR
Enrolling in the right phlebotomist school near Springdale AR is an important initial step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging task to analyze and compare each of the training options that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you get a quality education. In fact, most potential students begin the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional factor you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll talk more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and must be part of your selection process as well. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you pick the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomist Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their main duty, there is actually far more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the tools being employed are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork has to be accurately completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Springdale AR labs and are responsible for ensuring that samples are tested properly under the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they might be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The quickest response is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are many and diverse, such as Springdale AR hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a specific type of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Certification and Licensing
There are basically 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to finish 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 specifically a phlebotomy degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they usually take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not mandated in most states, most Springdale AR employers look for certification before employing technicians. Some 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 several states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, including Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a premium education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Training
To begin with, let's dispel one potential mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial portion of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many 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 could be a more practical alternative for many Springdale AR students. As an added benefit, some online classes are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist college you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the best option for you.
Should You Go to School to Become a Phlebotomy Technician?Right out of the gate, not many people probably know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have previously discussed, the short definition is a medical professional whose job is to draw blood. So of course anyone who chooses this profession must be able to handle needles and blood. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Springdale AR medical environments, well this job may not be the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomists routinely work with nervous people who hate needles or having their blood taken. And because most health care 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 interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the perfect job for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Since you now have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already decided on 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 college is relevant if you will be commuting from Springdale AR as well as the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online program. Each of these decisions are an important part of the process for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are considering prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Arkansas? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite 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 examination. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomist program that complies with 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 phlebotomy program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Springdale AR job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even contact some Springdale AR hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and find out if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the Arkansas school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Enough Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out from the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with area health care facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on clinical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Springdale AR health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Finding your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Springdale AR medical community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's critical to make sure that the ultimate college you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is especially true if you decide to still work while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Springdale AR, check that they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option also. And if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is should you have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist Training near Springdale Arkansas
Making sure that you choose the ideal phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying health care field. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be offered in a number of academic institutions, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive assortment of courses in medical care and health sciences. Training program options may vary slightly from state to state as every state has its own criteria when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to thoroughly evaluate and compare each college before making your ultimate choice. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomy program for you. And with the proper education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Springdale AR.