How to Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Tech School near Texarkana AR
Choosing the right phlebotomy training near Texarkana AR is an essential first step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting undertaking to investigate and compare all of the school alternatives that are available to you. However it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you get a superior education. In fact, most prospective students start their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another factor you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and must be part of your decision process too. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their principal duty, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the tools being utilized are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork has to be properly completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab screening process. 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 laboratories and are accountable for ensuring that samples are tested correctly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they may be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The simplest response is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, including Texarkana AR medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a specific type of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be drawing blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.
Phlebotomist Education, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily 2 kinds of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to finish and offers a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they normally take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program offer a more expansive background in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. Although not mandated in most states, many Texarkana AR employers require certification prior to employing technicians. A few 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 phlebotomist, such as California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's important that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a premium education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Colleges
To begin with, let's dispel one potential misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A good component of the course of study 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-practical part of the training may be accessed online, it might be a more practical option for many Texarkana AR students. As an additional benefit, many online classes are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenses, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist school you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a premium education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Now that you have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is significant if you will be commuting from Texarkana AR in addition to the tuition expense. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online school. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are looking at prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you choose should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a quality education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited programs. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future employers in the Texarkana AR job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also talk to several Texarkana AR clinics or hospitals that you may 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 grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Ample Training Included? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be working 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 considering should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with local healthcare facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on clinical training frequently not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Texarkana AR healthcare community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Finding your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are looking at offer 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 school has both an excellent reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Texarkana AR medical community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to verify that the ultimate program you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is especially important if you decide to still work while going to school. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Texarkana AR, make sure they are available 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 certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Pick the Right Phlebotomist Training near Texarkana Arkansas
Making certain that you pick the most suitable phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomy training programs can be found in a wide range of academic institutions, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options can differ slightly across the country as each state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must carefully evaluate and compare each college before making your ultimate selection. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the best phlebotomist school for you. And with the appropriate education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Texarkana AR.