How to Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Tech Training Program near Texarkana AR
Selecting the ideal phlebotomist school near Texarkana AR is an essential first step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult task to investigate and compare each of the school options that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you get a quality education. In fact, most prospective students begin their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another factor you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll review more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and need to be part of your selection process as well. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you pick the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomist Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their main responsibility, there is actually so much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the instruments being utilized are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork needs to be properly filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Texarkana AR laboratories and are accountable for making certain that samples are analyzed properly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they might be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The most basic answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are many and varied, including Texarkana AR medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be charged to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a particular type of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients every day.
Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to finish and furnishes a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they normally require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program offer a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, many Texarkana AR employers require certification before 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, like California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's important that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a superior education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Schools
To begin with, let's resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant part 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 completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical component of the training can be attended online, it can be a more practical option for some Texarkana AR students. As an additional benefit, many online programs are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some expenses, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy college you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a quality education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the best choice for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Since you now have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already selected the type of program you wish 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 Texarkana AR in addition to the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist school. All of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you should ask about all of the colleges you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Arkansas? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed before working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be working and prepares you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you pick should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting organization, 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 quality education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Texarkana AR job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even talk to a few Texarkana AR clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and find out if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Arkansas school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Ample Training Provided? To begin with, 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. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with local health care facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on clinical training often not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Texarkana AR medical community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are reviewing provide 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 school has both an excellent reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Texarkana AR health care community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's critical to verify that the final program you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while going to college. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Texarkana AR, make certain they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option also. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical 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 because of emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomist Training near Texarkana Arkansas
Making sure that you select the most suitable phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be offered in a variety of educational institutes, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive array of programs in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings can vary somewhat from state to state as each state has its own criteria when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must carefully evaluate and compare each college before making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the best phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Texarkana AR.