How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Technician School near Springdale AR
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomist training near Springdale AR is an essential initial step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult task to analyze and compare all of the training alternatives that are available to you. However it's vital that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a superior education. In fact, most potential students start the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another factor you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and should be part of your decision process as well. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you choose the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomist Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their principal task, there is actually far more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the instruments being utilized are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be properly filled out to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Springdale AR laboratories and are accountable for ensuring that samples are tested properly under the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they might be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The easiest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are many and diverse, including Springdale AR hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a certain type of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to complete and provides a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they normally require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program provide a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, a number of Springdale AR employers require 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 require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, such as Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a premium education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Training
First, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A good portion of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical part of the training may be attended online, it could be a more convenient alternative for many Springdale AR students. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenses, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomy college you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a premium education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the right choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Now that you have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might 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 campus is important if you will be commuting from Springdale AR as well as the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist college. Each of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are considering prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be working and readies you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a superior education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. 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 College's Reputation? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of any colleges you are considering. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even talk to some Springdale AR clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and see if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the Arkansas school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Included? First, check with the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with local health care facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on clinical training often not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Springdale AR healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement percentage 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? And last, it's important to confirm that the final college you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is especially important if you choose to still work while attending school. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Springdale AR, check that they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is in case you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Choose the Best Phlebotomist Training near Springdale Arkansas
Making certain that you select the most suitable phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare field. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomy training programs can be found in a number of educational institutions, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings may differ slightly from state to state as each state has its own requirements when it comes to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must diligently research and compare each school 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 select the ideal phlebotomy school for you. And with the proper education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Springdale AR.