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Become a Phlebotomist in Texarkana Arkansas

How to Pick the Right Phlebotomy Technician Training Classes near Texarkana AR

Texarkana AR phlebotomy tech drawing blood from patientChoosing the right phlebotomy technician training near Texarkana AR is an important first step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting task to evaluate and compare all of the school alternatives that are available to you. However it's vital that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you get a superior education. In reality, most potential students start their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional option you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll talk a bit more about online schools later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and should be part of your selection process too. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you pick the right one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online schools.

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Phlebotomy Tech Career Summary

Texarkana AR phlebotomy laboratory technicianA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their principal duty, there is actually much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the tools being utilized are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork must be accurately completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Texarkana AR laboratories and are accountable for making sure that samples are tested properly under the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they can be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.

Where do Phlebotomists Work?

The quickest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are many and diverse, such as Texarkana AR hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a particular kind of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients every day.

Phlebotomist Training, Certification and Licensing

blood analysis done in Texarkana AR laboratoryThere are basically 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to complete and furnishes a basic education as well as 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, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program offer a more extensive background in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. Although not required in the majority of states, many Texarkana AR employers look for certification prior to hiring 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 a few states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, like Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a quality education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.

Phlebotomist Online Training

Texarkana AR student attending phlebotomy school onlineFirst, let's dispel one likely mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant component of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical part of the training can be accessed online, it can be a more convenient alternative for some Texarkana AR students. As an added benefit, some online programs are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist program you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the best choice for you.

Should You Train to Be a Plebotomist?

Right out of the gate, few people are likely to know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have previously discussed, the short answer is a health care professional who draws blood from patients. So of course anyone who chooses this profession must be able to handle blood and needles. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Texarkana AR medical facilities, well this profession probably is not the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians tend to work around nervous people who hate needles or having their blood drawn. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably be expected to work weekends, evenings and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the needles and blood, and if you enjoy helping people and are patient and compassionate, this may be the perfect job for you.

Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Programs

Questions to ask Texarkana AR phlebotomy schoolsNow that you have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already picked the type of program you wish 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 college. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the colleges you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision.

Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may 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 working and preps you for all examinations you may have to take.

Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you pick should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a premium education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Texarkana AR job market.

What is the College's Ranking? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of all colleges you are reviewing. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even talk to some Texarkana AR hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any insights. 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 full compliance.

Is Sufficient Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer adequate training.

Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with regional healthcare facilities. They are the ideal means to obtain hands-on practical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Texarkana AR medical community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Help Provided? Landing your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage 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 as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Texarkana AR health care community.

Are Class Times Available as Needed? And last, it's crucial to confirm that the final college you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you decide to still work while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Texarkana AR, make sure they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is should you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.

Choose the Best Phlebotomy Training near Texarkana Arkansas

Making sure that you select the right phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare career position. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be offered in a variety of educational institutions, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive assortment of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Course offerings can differ a bit from state to state as every state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must diligently research and compare each college prior to making your ultimate selection. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomy school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Texarkana AR.