How to Select the Right Phlebotomy Tech Training Classes near Texarkana AR
Choosing the right phlebotomy school near Texarkana AR is a critical first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging undertaking to evaluate and compare all of the school options that are available to you. However it's important that you do your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a quality education. In reality, most prospective students start the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional option you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll review a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and must be part of your selection process also. 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 select 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 classes.
Request Free information on Phlebotomy Training in Your Area
Phlebotomist Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary task, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork must be correctly completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Texarkana AR labs and are responsible for making certain that samples are analyzed properly using the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they can be required to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The quickest response is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are many and diverse, including Texarkana AR hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a specific kind of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be collecting blood from senior 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 working in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Training, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially two kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to finish and furnishes a basic education as well as 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, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program offer a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not mandated in most states, most Texarkana AR employers look for certification prior to employing technicians. Some of the primary certifying agencies include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are some states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, like Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a premium education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Colleges
To begin with, let's resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial portion of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical component of the training can be accessed online, it can be a more practical alternative for some Texarkana AR students. As an added benefit, some online colleges are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomy school you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a superior education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Now that you have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus 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 phlebotomist online program. Each of these decisions are an important part of the process for picking 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 all of the programs you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed before working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be working and prepares you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a superior education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Texarkana AR job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of all schools you are considering. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also contact some Texarkana AR hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and find out if they can provide any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the Arkansas school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Ample Training Included? First, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with area healthcare facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on practical training often not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Texarkana AR medical community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Landing your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Texarkana AR health care community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? Finally, it's crucial to verify that the final program you choose provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while attending college. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Texarkana AR, make sure they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option also. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is in case you need to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Training near Texarkana Arkansas
Making sure that you pick the right phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be available in a variety of educational institutions, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options can differ somewhat from state to state as every state has its own prerequisites when it pertains to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to thoroughly research and compare each program before making your final decision. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the best phlebotomist college for you. And with the appropriate education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Texarkana AR.