How to Find the Right Phlebotomy School near Texarkana AR
Selecting the right phlebotomy technician school near Texarkana AR is an essential first step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging undertaking to analyze and compare all of the training options that are available to you. However it's vital that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a superior education. In reality, most potential students begin their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional option you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss 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 closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and must be part of your selection process also. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you pick the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Technician Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main function, there is actually much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample needs to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork has to be properly completed in order to track the sample from the point 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 infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Texarkana AR labs and are in charge of ensuring that samples are analyzed properly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they may be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The simplest response is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are many and diverse, such as Texarkana AR medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a specific type of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be drawing blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients each day.
Phlebotomist Education, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to complete and furnishes a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they usually take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program provide a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not required in the majority of states, most Texarkana AR employers look for certification before employing technicians. A few 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 several states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, including California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a premium education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Colleges
To begin with, let's dispel one potential misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial component of the course of study will be practical training and it will be performed 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. However since the non-clinical part of the training can be accessed online, it can be a more convenient alternative for some Texarkana AR students. As an additional benefit, some online colleges are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist program you choose 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 premium education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online might be the best option for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Now that you have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is significant if you will be commuting from Texarkana AR as well as the tuition expense. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. All of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about each of the colleges you are considering prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be working and readies you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a quality education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited colleges. Last, 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 Reputation? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. You can start 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 ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also talk to a few Texarkana AR hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest 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 ask if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Adequate Training Included? First, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out from the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with regional health care facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on practical training often not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Texarkana AR healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Available? Finding your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Texarkana AR healthcare community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's critical to confirm that the ultimate college you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is particularly true if you opt to still work while attending school. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Texarkana AR, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option also. And if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is should you need to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Texarkana Arkansas
Making sure that you select the right phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare field. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be found in a wide range of educational institutes, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive range of programs in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings can differ slightly across the country as each state has its own prerequisites when it concerns phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must thoroughly evaluate and compare each school prior to making your final selection. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the ideal phlebotomy school for you. And with the proper training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Texarkana AR.