How to Find the Best Phlebotomist School near Springdale AR
Picking the ideal phlebotomist training near Springdale AR is an important first step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult undertaking to assess and compare each of the training options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you receive a quality education. In fact, most prospective students begin the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another option you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll review a bit 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 factors including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your selection process also. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you pick the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main task, there is actually far more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the instruments 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 properly filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab screening procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Springdale AR laboratories and are responsible for ensuring that samples are tested correctly using the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The simplest response is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are numerous and diverse, including Springdale AR medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be charged to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a particular kind of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Certification and Licensing
There are basically 2 kinds of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to complete and offers a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will provide training on becoming 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 expansive foundation in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. Although not mandated in most states, a number of Springdale 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 phlebotomist, like California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a quality education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Colleges
To begin with, let's resolve one likely mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A good portion of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical portion of the training can be attended online, it can be a more convenient option for some Springdale AR students. As an added benefit, a number of online schools are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenses, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist college you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online might be the right option for you.
Should You Choose a Career as a Plebotomist?First of all, few people probably know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have already discussed, the basic answer is a medical professional whose job is to draw blood. So of course anyone who chooses this profession must be OK around blood and needles. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Springdale AR medical facilities, well this job may not be right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Techs routinely work with nervous people who hate needles or having their blood drawn. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you may be required to work weekends, nights and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the needles and blood, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are patient and compassionate, this may be the perfect profession for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Now that you have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already picked the kind of program you wish 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 in addition to the tuition expense. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist school. Each 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 need to ask about all of the programs you are reviewing prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Arkansas? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be working and preps you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you pick should be accredited by a recognized regional or national 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 quality education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Springdale AR job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to investigate the reputations of all colleges you are considering. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even talk to some Springdale AR hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and find out if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the Arkansas school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Included? First, check with 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 considering should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with regional health care facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on practical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Springdale AR medical community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Finding your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the support 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 college has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Springdale AR medical community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? Finally, it's critical to verify that the final college you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is especially true if you opt to continue working while attending college. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Springdale AR, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option as well. And if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is in case you need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Pick the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Springdale Arkansas
Making sure that you choose the most suitable phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding health care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomy training programs can be offered in a number of educational institutions, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings can vary a bit from state to state as each state has its own requirements when it pertains to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to thoroughly screen and compare each program before making your final choice. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the best phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Springdale AR.