How to Select the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Texarkana AR
Picking the right phlebotomy school near Texarkana AR is an essential initial step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting task to evaluate and compare each of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's vital that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you get a quality education. In fact, a large number of prospective students begin the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another option you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll talk more about online classes later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your decision process also. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you choose the best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomist Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their principal duty, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork must be properly completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Texarkana AR laboratories and are responsible for making certain that samples are analyzed correctly using the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they can be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The quickest response is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are many and varied, including Texarkana AR medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be charged to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a specific kind of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be collecting blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily 2 kinds of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to complete and offers a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they typically take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program provide a more expansive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, most Texarkana AR employers look for certification prior to employing 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 few additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a quality education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Certificates and Degrees
To begin with, let's resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial component of the course of study will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed online, it could be a more convenient alternative for some Texarkana AR students. As an added benefit, some online colleges are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenditures, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy program you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a quality education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the right option for you.
Should You Become a Phlebotomy Technician?First of all, not many people probably know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have previously discussed, the short definition is a medical professional who draws blood from patients. So of course anyone who chooses this profession must be comfortable with needles and blood. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Texarkana AR medical environments, well this profession may not be the best choice for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians routinely work around nervous people who hate needles or having their blood taken. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you may 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 interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the perfect profession for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Since you now have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already picked the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is relevant if you will be commuting from Texarkana AR as well as the tuition expense. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. All of these decisions are an important component of the process for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are considering prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be working and preps you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you pick 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 advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Texarkana AR job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to investigate the reputations of any schools you are looking at. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also contact several Texarkana AR hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and find out 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 colleges are in total compliance.
Is Enough Training Included? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums may indicate 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 local health care facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on clinical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Texarkana AR healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Texarkana AR health care community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's critical to make sure that the ultimate school you choose provides classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is especially true if you decide to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Texarkana AR, check that they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is should you need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Pick the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Texarkana Arkansas
Making sure that you select the ideal phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be found in a variety of educational institutes, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings can vary somewhat across the country as each state has its own prerequisites when it pertains to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must carefully research and compare each college 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 select the right phlebotomist school for you. And with the proper training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Texarkana AR.