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Become a Phlebotomist in Texarkana Arkansas

How to Choose the Right Phlebotomy Technician Training Course near Texarkana AR

Texarkana AR phlebotomist drawing blood from patientChoosing the right phlebotomy school near Texarkana AR is an essential initial step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult undertaking to evaluate and compare all of the training options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's important that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a superior education. In reality, a large number of prospective students begin the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll talk a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your selection process too. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you choose the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online training.

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Phlebotomist Job Summary

Texarkana AR phlebotomist lab technicianA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their principal function, there is actually so much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the tools being employed are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork must be properly filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab screening process. The phlebotomist then transports 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. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Texarkana AR laboratories and are responsible for ensuring that samples are tested correctly under the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they can be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.

Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?

The easiest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are many and diverse, such as Texarkana AR medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a specific kind of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be collecting blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients on a daily basis.

Phlebotomy Technician Education, Certification and Licensing

blood testing done in Texarkana AR labThere are primarily two types of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to complete and provides a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides 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. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program furnish a more extensive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. While not required in most states, a number of Texarkana AR employers require certification before 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 some states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, like California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a premium education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.

Online Phlebotomist Classes

Texarkana Arkansas student attending phlebotomy classes onlineTo begin with, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant component of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical part of the training can be accessed online, it may be a more convenient option for some Texarkana AR students. As an additional benefit, a number of online colleges are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist school you choose 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 premium education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the ideal option for you.

Should You Choose a Career as a Phlebotomy Tech?

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

Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Programs

Questions to ask Texarkana AR phlebotomy schoolsNow that you have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already picked the type 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 decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist program. All of these decisions are a critical part of the process for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you should ask about each of the colleges you are looking at before making your ultimate selection.

Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed before working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for any exams you may have to take.

Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you choose should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a premium education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification exam administered 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 colleges. Last, graduating from an accredited college 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 check the reputations of all schools 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 research online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also check with several Texarkana AR hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the Arkansas school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.

Is Enough Training Included? First, check with the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer sufficient training.

Are Internships Sponsored? Find out from the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with area medical facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on practical training often not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Texarkana AR health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Getting your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are considering offer 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 a good reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Texarkana AR healthcare community.

Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's critical to make sure that the ultimate school you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is especially true if you opt to still work while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Texarkana AR, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option also. And if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is should you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.

Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Texarkana Arkansas

Making sure that you select the right phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying health care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be found in a variety of educational institutes, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide range of programs in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings may vary a bit from state to state as every state has its own requirements when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to diligently evaluate and compare each college before making your ultimate decision. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the best phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Texarkana AR.