How to Select the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Texarkana AR
Selecting the ideal phlebotomist school near Texarkana AR is an important first step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging task to analyze and compare each of the school options that are available to you. However it's important that you do your due diligence to make sure that you get a quality education. In reality, many students begin the process by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional factor you might consider 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's important to remember is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and must be part of your selection process as well. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you choose the right one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomist Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their principal task, there is actually far more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the instruments being used are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be correctly filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening 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 labs and are responsible for ensuring that samples are analyzed properly under the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they can be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The most basic response is wherever there are patients. Their work places are many and diverse, such as Texarkana AR medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a certain kind of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Education, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily two types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to complete and provides a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they usually take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program furnish a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not required in most states, most Texarkana AR employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. Some of the principal 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, like Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a superior education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Schools
To start with, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant part of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed online, it could be a more practical option for many Texarkana AR students. As an added benefit, many online schools are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some costs, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy program you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the ideal choice for you.
Should You Go to School to Become a Phlebotomy Technician?Right out of the gate, not many people probably know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have already discussed, the basic definition is a health care professional whose job is to draw blood. So naturally anyone who selects this profession must be OK around blood and needles. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Texarkana AR medical environments, well this job may not be right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomists often work with anxious people who don’t like needles or having their blood drawn. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you may be required to work weekends, nights and even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the blood and needles, and if you enjoy helping people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the perfect job for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Since you now have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already picked 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 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 school. All of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Arkansas? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing 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 readies you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you choose should be accredited by a recognized 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 program aside from a guarantee of a superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are typically not available for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree 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 numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to investigate the reputations of any schools you are considering. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also contact some Texarkana AR hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and see if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Arkansas school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Provided? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomist 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 less than these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internships Included? Ask the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with area health care facilities. They are the optimal way to receive hands-on practical training typically not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Texarkana AR medical community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Available? Landing your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are looking at provide 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 program has both a good reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Texarkana AR healthcare community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's important to make sure that the final program you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while going to school. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Texarkana AR, make certain 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 attend online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is in case you have to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training near Texarkana Arkansas
Making sure that you choose the most suitable phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be offered in a number of educational institutions, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Training program options may differ slightly across the country as each state has its own criteria when it pertains to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to thoroughly screen and compare each school prior to making your ultimate choice. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the best phlebotomist school for you. And with the proper education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Texarkana AR.