Selecting a Phlebotomy Course in Arkansas
Picking the ideal phlebotomy training in Arkansas is a critical first step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult task to analyze and compare all of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it’s vital that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a quality education. In reality, many potential students start the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional option you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We’ll discuss a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and need to be part of your decision process also. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you choose the best one for you. But before we do that, let’s cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online training.
Phlebotomy Technician Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their primary function, there is actually much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the tools being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient’s information. Next, paperwork needs to be accurately completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab screening process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some Arkansas phlebotomists actually work in labs and are in charge of ensuring that samples are analyzed correctly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren’t sufficient duties, they might be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The easiest answer is wherever there are patients. Their work places are numerous and varied, including Arkansas hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a particular type of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing
There are basically 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomy training in Arkansas, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to complete and offers a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it’s not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually take two years to finish. Bachelor’s Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program furnish 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 most states, a number of employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. Some of the principal certifying agencies include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are a few states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it’s essential that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a superior education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Certificates and Degrees
First, let’s resolve one possible misconception. You can’t receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A good component of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an approved Arkansas healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical part of the training may be attended online, it could be a more practical option for some students. As an added benefit, some online colleges are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenses, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy school you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online might be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Now that you have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it’s time to start your due diligence process. You might have already selected 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 Arkansas school is significant in addition to the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an phlebotomy online school. All of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for selecting a school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed before working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it’s extremely important to select a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you pick should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a superior education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are often not available for non-accredited schools in Arkansas. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to potential employers in the job market.
What is the Program’s Reputation? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it’s imperative to check the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also talk to several Arkansas local clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and see if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the Arkansas school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Ample Training Provided? First, check with the Arkansas regulator or the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask the Arkansas programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with regional healthcare facilities. They are the ideal means to get hands-on practical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Arkansas healthcare community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Getting your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it’s an indication that the college has both a good reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Arkansas health care community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? Finally, it’s crucial to confirm that the ultimate program you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your active schedule. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while attending college. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends in Arkansas, make certain they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option also. 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 policy is should you have to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Course in Arkansas
Making sure that you choose the ideal phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding health care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be available in a variety of educational institutions, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program options can vary a bit across the country as every state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must carefully research and compare each college before making your final selection. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the best college for you. And with the proper education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Arkansas.