How to Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training Course near Texarkana AR
Enrolling in the right phlebotomy training near Texarkana AR is a critical initial step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult undertaking to assess and compare all of the training options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you do your due diligence to make certain that you get a superior education. In fact, many potential students start the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that first 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 keep in mind is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your selection process also. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you pick the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomist Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their primary duty, there is actually much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the tools being utilized are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be properly completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing 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 infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Texarkana AR labs and are accountable for making certain that samples are analyzed correctly using the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be asked to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The most basic response is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are many and varied, such as Texarkana AR hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a certain type of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively 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 practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients every day.
Phlebotomist Education, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to complete and offers a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they usually require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program offer a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. While not mandated in most states, most Texarkana AR employers require certification before hiring technicians. Some of the principal 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 in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a premium education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Schools
First, let's resolve one likely mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant part of the course of study will be practical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical portion of the training can be attended online, it may be a more practical option for some Texarkana AR students. As an additional benefit, some online schools are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some costs, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist college you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a premium education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the best option for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Now that you have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already picked the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is relevant if you will be commuting from Texarkana AR as well as the cost of tuition. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist program. All of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you choose should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Texarkana AR job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of all schools you are looking at. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also check with some Texarkana AR clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and see if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the Arkansas school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Provided? First, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internships Provided? Find out from the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with local healthcare facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on practical training often not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Texarkana AR medical community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Landing your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Texarkana AR healthcare community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's crucial to confirm that the ultimate program you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your hectic schedule. This is especially true if you opt to still work while going to college. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Texarkana AR, make certain they are offered 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 sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is should you need to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Texarkana Arkansas
Making sure that you pick the most suitable phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be found in a variety of educational institutes, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive assortment of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course options may vary a bit across the country as each state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to carefully research and compare each program before making your final selection. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the best phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Texarkana AR.