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Become a Phlebotomist in Texarkana Arkansas

How to Pick the Best Phlebotomy Technician Training Course near Texarkana AR

Texarkana AR phlebotomist drawing bloodPicking the right phlebotomy school near Texarkana AR is an important initial step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting undertaking to analyze and compare each of the school alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you do your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a superior education. In fact, many students begin the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional option you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll talk more about online schools 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 finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and should be part of your decision process too. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you select the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online schools.

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Phlebotomist Work Description

Texarkana AR phlebotomy lab techA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their primary responsibility, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the instruments being used are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork needs to be correctly filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab screening procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Texarkana AR labs and are accountable for making certain that samples are analyzed correctly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they may be required to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.

Where are Phlebotomists Employed?

The easiest response is wherever there are patients. Their work places are many and diverse, including Texarkana AR medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be charged to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a certain kind of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients every day.

Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification

blood analysis performed in Texarkana AR laboratoryThere are basically 2 kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to finish and provides a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers 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 incorporate training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program provide a more expansive background in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not required in the majority of states, a number of Texarkana AR employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. Some of the key 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, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's important that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a superior education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.

Online Phlebotomy Certificates and Degrees

Texarkana AR student attending phlebotomy school onlineTo begin with, let's dispel one likely misconception. 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 conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical part of the training can be attended online, it could be a more convenient alternative for many Texarkana AR students. As an additional benefit, many online classes are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some costs, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy program you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the best option for you.

Should You Go to School to Become a Phlebotomy Technician?

First of all, few people are likely to know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have previously discussed, the basic answer is a health care professional who draws blood from patients. So of course anyone who chooses this profession must be comfortable with blood and needles. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Texarkana AR medical environments, well this profession probably is not right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians often work around anxious people who hate needles or having their blood drawn. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you will probably be required to work weekends, evenings and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the blood and needles, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the right profession for you.

Points to Ask Phlebotomy Programs

What to ask Texarkana AR phlebotomy schoolsNow that you have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already picked the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is important if you will be commuting from Texarkana AR in addition to the tuition expense. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist college. All of these decisions are a critical part of the process for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection.

Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Arkansas? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for all examinations you may have to take.

Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you choose should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting agency, for example 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 superior education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Texarkana AR job market.

What is the School's Ranking? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of all schools you are considering. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also contact a few Texarkana AR clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and find out if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the Arkansas school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.

Is Sufficient Training Included? 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 clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer sufficient training.

Are Internship Programs Included? Find out from the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional health care facilities. They are the ideal means to receive hands-on clinical training often not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Texarkana AR medical community. And they look good on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Support Offered? Getting your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Texarkana AR health care community.

Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to verify that the final program you choose offers classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is especially true if you choose to still work while going to college. If you can only go to 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, confirm 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 ask what the make-up protocol is in case you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.

Choose the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Texarkana Arkansas

Making sure that you choose the ideal phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are available in a variety of academic institutes, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program options may differ slightly across the country as each state has its own prerequisites when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to diligently evaluate and compare each school prior to making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the best phlebotomist college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Texarkana AR.