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Become a Phlebotomist in Texarkana Arkansas

How to Choose the Best Phlebotomy Tech Training Classes near Texarkana AR

Texarkana AR phlebotomist drawing blood from patientSelecting the ideal phlebotomist school near Texarkana AR is a critical initial step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging task to evaluate and compare all of the training alternatives that are available to you. However it's vital that you do your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a superior education. In fact, a large number of potential students begin the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another option you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online schools later in this article. What you need 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 accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and need to be part of your decision process also. 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 select the right one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online schools.

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Phlebotomist Career Description

Texarkana AR phlebotomy laboratory techA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary responsibility, there is in fact far more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork needs to be properly filled out in order to track the sample from the time 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. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Texarkana AR laboratories and are responsible for making sure that samples are tested properly utilizing the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.

Where are Phlebotomists Employed?

The easiest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are many and diverse, including Texarkana AR hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a particular type of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be drawing blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients each day.

Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification

blood testing performed in Texarkana AR laboratoryThere are essentially 2 kinds of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to finish and furnishes a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they normally require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program offer a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. While not required in the majority of states, many Texarkana AR employers look for certification before hiring technicians. Some of the primary certifying organizations 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 in order to practice as a phlebotomist, including Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a quality education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.

Phlebotomy Online Classes

Texarkana AR woman attending phlebotomy school onlineTo begin with, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A good portion of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical portion of the training may be attended online, it can be a more convenient alternative for many Texarkana AR students. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist college you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a quality education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the right option for you.

Points to Ask Phlebotomist Programs

Since you now have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is significant if you will be commuting from Texarkana AR as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist college. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the colleges you are looking at before making your final selection.

Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Arkansas? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for any exams you may have to take.

Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you choose should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance of a superior education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future employers in the Texarkana AR job market.

What is the College's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of all schools you are looking at. 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 online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even contact several Texarkana AR clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and see if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing 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 total compliance.

Is Sufficient Training Provided? First, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.

Are Internships Included? Ask the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with area health care facilities. They are the optimal way to get hands-on clinical training often not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Texarkana AR health care community. And they look good on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Getting your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Texarkana AR health care community.

Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's critical to confirm that the ultimate program you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you decide to still work while going to college. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Texarkana AR, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make certain 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 illness or emergencies.

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Pick the Right Phlebotomy 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 health care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomist training programs are offered in a variety of educational institutes, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive assortment of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program offerings may vary a bit from state to state as each state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to diligently evaluate and compare each college prior to making your final choice. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomy program for you. And with the appropriate education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Texarkana AR.