How to Enroll in the Best Phlebotomist School near Springdale AR
Choosing the ideal phlebotomy training near Springdale AR is an essential first step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting undertaking to assess and compare all of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's vital that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a quality education. In fact, a large number of potential students begin the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional option you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll talk more about online classes later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and need to be part of your selection process too. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you pick the right one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomist Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their primary task, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the instruments being utilized are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork must be properly filled out to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab screening procedure. 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. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Springdale AR laboratories and are in charge of making sure that samples are analyzed correctly using the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they might be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The quickest answer is wherever there are patients. Their work places are numerous and varied, such as Springdale AR hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a certain type of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are working 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 environment would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Education, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily two types of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to finish and offers a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they usually require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program offer a more expansive background in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not required in the majority of states, most Springdale AR employers look for certification before hiring technicians. A few of the main certifying organizations include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are some states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, like Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a superior education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Certificates and Degrees
To begin with, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial portion of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical portion of the training may be accessed online, it might be a more convenient alternative for some Springdale AR students. As an additional benefit, a number of online classes are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some costs, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened also. Just verify that the online phlebotomy college you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a superior education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the right option for you.
Should You Train to Be a Phlebotomy Tech?Right out of the gate, few people probably know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have previously discussed, the short definition is a health care professional who draws blood from patients. So of course anyone who chooses this profession must be comfortable with needles and blood. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Springdale AR medical environments, well this profession probably is not the best choice for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Techs tend to work around nervous people who don’t like needles or having their blood taken. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you may be expected to work weekends, evenings and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the blood and needles, and if you enjoy helping people and are patient and compassionate, this may be the perfect profession for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Now that you have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already picked 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 relevant if you will be commuting from Springdale AR in addition to the cost of tuition. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the process for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about each of the colleges you are looking at before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Arkansas? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be working and prepares you for all examinations you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you select should be accredited by a reputable 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 in addition to an assurance of a superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited schools. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future employers in the Springdale AR job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of all colleges you are considering. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even check with some Springdale AR clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the Arkansas school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Provided? To begin with, check with 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. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internships Included? Ask the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with local medical facilities. They are the optimal means to get hands-on clinical training often not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Springdale AR medical community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Getting your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Springdale AR medical community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to make sure that the final school you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Springdale AR, make certain they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is should you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomist Training near Springdale Arkansas
Making sure that you choose the most suitable phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying health care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomist training programs are available in a variety of academic institutions, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program offerings can vary somewhat across the country as every state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to carefully screen and compare each college before making your final choice. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the right phlebotomist college for you. And with the proper training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Springdale AR.