Phlebotomists in Arkansas can enjoy a career that offers good job prospects and a decent salary. You will work directly with patients in a fast-paced, challenging environment. Educational requirements are straightforward and various educational options exist. National certification will increase your job prospects and may also improve your salary prospects.
List of Phlebotomy Training Schools in Arkansas
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Unlike some states in which rigorous requirements must be met, Arkansas does not have state–wide requirements for phlebotomists. While that decreases the number of hoops you must jump through, it also means requirements tend to be employer-driven. You will have the best opportunities if you complete a course offered by a school certified by the Arkansas State Board of Education. Personal characteristics that can help you in this work include the ability to be friendly, flexible, and well-organized. You must be able to deal with a wide variety of both ill and healthy people of all ages. You should also have a strong safety orientation and good attention to detail. Each school has its own eligibility requirements and course expectations. At Arkansas State University Mid-South (ASU-MS), for example, you must have a high school diploma or GED and complete medical terminology and anatomy and physiology in addition to the phlebotomy courses. Most programs offer a certificate of completion and take about one semester. In general, expect that you must submit your high school or GED transcripts, pass a background check and drug test, complete up to 40 hours of didactic (classroom) training, complete up to 40 hours of practical training and prove that you have performed as many as 100 venipunctures and 10 skin punctures.
Application Process & Costs
Application processes and costs vary according to the institution. At ASU-MS, tuition varies according to residency, with total amounts ranging from $90 to $150 per credit hour. Other fees may also be required. At South Arkansas Community College, tuition ranges from $83 to $172 per credit hour. Some institutions offer scholarships, loans or tuition payment plans.
Although many programs offer some online courses, all have a hands-on clinical training component in which the student learns how to draw blood and perform other phlebotomy-related tasks. The clinical training must be supervised by a qualified instructor. Not all programs are offered year-round, although the online training portion may be available year-round. Check with the individual institution. Remember that phlebotomy is a skill that takes practice. Choose a program with lots of clinical experience to sharpen your technical competence and hands-on skills.
Maintaining Certification/License & Renewal
Certification is not required for phlebotomists in the state of Arkansas. However, national certification is available and highly recommended, as employers are more likely to choose certified technicians or to require certification as a condition of employment. Certification is typically considered proof that you’ve met minimum requirements for competency and knowledge. You can obtain any of five national certifications: National Center for Competency Testing, American Medical Technologists Phlebotomist, American Society for Clinical Pathology Phlebotomy Technician (PBT, ASCP), American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians Phlebotomist and National Phlebotomy Association Phlebotomist. Each has different education, experience and testing requirements.
Salary & Job Prospects
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that health care occupations in general will be in high demand through 2022. In the case of phlebotomists, the BLS projects a growth rate of 27 percent, nearly three times the average growth rate for all occupations. As of May 2014, the average hourly wage for phlebotomists was $12.19. Annual salaries ranged from $17,950 to $34,440. As a newly-graduated phlebotomist, you should expect a salary on the low end of the range.