How Do I Become a Phlebotomist? – Education & Career Guide 2022
If you’ve ever wanted to work with a medical team without necessarily going through several years of training, here’s your chance. Becoming a phlebotomist is what you need. To land a job as a phlebotomist technician, you just need to get a good phlebotomy training program from an accredited school and acquire a certificate to practice. It only takes 10-15 minutes of reading to learn all this.
The phlebotomist’s job is very simple: to obtain blood from patients for testing and transfusions. However, they are very important to the allied healthcare community.
With satisfactory pay for the work they do and the little time it takes before earning begins, more students are choosing this career. Also, becoming a phlebotomist is a smart way to start a great career in the healthcare field.
So, it is for these reasons that we will show you how to become a phlebotomist. In this post, you will find out who is a phlebotomist and their job description. You will also learn about how much phlebotomy education and certificate they need to start earning. Read on to find out all of this.
What Is Phlebotomy?
If this is the first time you’ve heard the term phlebotomy, then you’ve come to the right place. Phlebotomy sounded like something out of a science fiction movie to us at first, but now we know what it is and will share the knowledge with you.
If a medical professional has ever drawn your blood for any reason, what you see that professional do is phlebotomy. Phlebotomy is the process of drawing blood from the vein by pricking it with a needle.
This process is also called venipuncture, but phlebotomy goes beyond the process of drawing blood. Phlebotomy is to pierce the vein and draw blood in order to carry out tests, research or even to write a life insurance policy.
A career in phlebotomy sounds like fun, right? Well, this is only true for people who are not afraid of blood. So before you consider getting on the phlebotomy race bus, make sure you are someone who is calm in the face of having blood drawn with a needle.
Who Is A Phlebotomist?
The professional who draws your blood for any medical purpose is the Phlebotomist. Your doctor or nurse may have drawn your blood with the needle at one point or another and you wonder if that makes them phlebotomists.
The answer to that is a resounding NO! That doctor. The doctor or nurse had only done the work of a phlebotomist, probably because the hospital or medical centre is not big enough to have one.
In a large hospital with decentralized functions, you will find a phlebotomist, whose job is to simply draw blood from patients to detect disease or conduct research.
Also, the phlebotomist is not limited to the hospital alone. They can move from house to house taking blood donations from people or blood samples for life insurance policies.
This is something your doctor or nurse wouldn’t do, and more reasons why the phlebotomist will always be needed. Meanwhile, the phlebotomist is also the phlebotomy technician. You will find us using both interchangeably in this article.
What are the job duties of a phlebotomy technician?
We know that phlebotomy technicians collect blood from patients with a needle. But is that all there is to the profession?
The answer is no. So, here are other tasks that the phlebotomy technician will perform in your work environment:
- Take the patient’s blood pressure, pulse, and respiratory reading.
- Explain operating procedures to patients.
- Use proper identification techniques for samples, especially when working in the hospital.
- Use proper sanitation methods to avoid cross contamination.
- Update patient record
- Prepare stains and reagents.
- Send blood and other samples to the laboratory for analysis.
Where does the phlebotomist work?
The phlebotomist works with a wide variety of people, including medical professionals and patients from different backgrounds. Therefore, you will mostly find phlebotomy technicians in hospitals (state, local, or private) and in medical and diagnostic laboratories.
In addition to these places, you will also find them in ambulatory health care services, blood donation centres, doctor’s offices, and outpatient centres.
Additionally, due to the nature of their work, especially when it comes to donating blood, phlebotomy technicians will have to travel to different offices and sites. There, they will set up mobile donation centres and collect blood from patients.
Meanwhile, the phlebotomist usually works full time, either 9 to 5 hours or 24 hours. That’s how important they are. When they work in hospitals and laboratories, they may have to work nights, weekends, and even during vacations.
What is the phlebotomist salary and job outlook?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, phlebotomists earn an average salary of $ 34,480 annually. Some may earn more, while others go down, but on average, the above figure is what they earn.
Additionally, BLS provides an estimate of salaries for phlebotomists based on the industries in which they work. Phlebotomy technicians will gain the following in the different areas in which they work:
- Ambulatory Care Centers – $ 39,420
- Medical and Diagnostic Laboratories – $ 36,060
- Physician Offices – $ 33,110
- Hospitals – $ 33,040
- Outpatient Health Services – $ 32,870
The state where you work as a phlebotomist will also determine how much you will receive in salary. BLS gives top 5 paying phlebotomist states like:
- California – $ 45,030
- Alaska – $ 42,290
- District of Columbia – $ 41,600
- New York – $ 40,630
- Massachusetts – $ 39,970
In 2018, there were 128,300 jobs available to phlebotomists and with an estimated growth of 23% from 2018 to 2028, the number of jobs will expand to 157,800.
So if you choose to go through the educational requirements necessary to become a phlebotomist and get certified, you will get a job in a hurry. The reason for this is that blood testing is an essential function in hospitals and medical laboratories.
What do I need to become a phlebotomist?
Becoming a phlebotomy technician is no big deal. Follow the guide below and you’ll become one in no time.
Earn a high school diploma or its equivalent
The first step to becoming a phlebotomist is finishing high school and earning your diploma. This is an important requirement for admission to a school that offers the required phlebotomy training program.
If you don’t have a high school diploma, a GED can help. GED is a general education diploma that certifies students who were unable to earn a high school diploma. However, you would have to take and pass certain subjects to get a GED.
In addition to earning a high school diploma or GED, you must be up to 18 years old before you can advance in the process of becoming a phlebotomist.
Enroll in a phlebotomy program
Phlebotomy programs are your direct path to becoming a phlebotomy technician. You can get a phlebotomy training program at technical and community colleges, as well as independent training centres like hospitals.
However, the best option for phlebotomy programs in phlebotomy schools is because of their accreditation, low tuition offering, and the full certification they provide you. Be sure to attend phlebotomy schools accredited by the National Accreditation Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS).
While phlebotomy programs may vary by school, all phlebotomy training will essentially cover anatomy, safety and laboratory procedures, venipuncture, hands-on experiences, and sample labelling.
The beauty of phlebotomy programs is that they don’t take long to complete. A typical phlebotomy program will take four to eight months to complete.
Relevant Experience Gain
Before you are eligible for a real job as a phlebotomist, you must have accumulated sufficient experience. This is the beauty of phlebotomist schools: it is clinical training that gives you the right experience.
Since no one will trust you with the skin to test your needle skills, you will begin your hands-on training with test subjects. You will work with them for a while until you are stable enough to work with real patients.
Of course, you will be monitored by a lead phlebotomist to confirm that you have gained adequate experience or else will continue to prick test subjects for life.
Obtaining a phlebotomy certificate is very important to your phlebotomy career. You should try to get certified after completing a phlebotomy training program, as some states will require it in order for you to practice. Some other states may not require you to have a phlebotomy certificate or license, but the vast majority of phlebotomists are certified, so why not you?
Another reason to obtain a phlebotomy certificate in addition to joining the phlebotomist group is that it allows you to expand your scope of operation as a phlebotomist. It could even increase your earnings.
In the meantime, make sure you get certified from any of the certification organizations below because they are the most reputable.
The states that will require you to obtain a phlebotomy certificate are California, Louisiana, Nevada, and Washington. But you’ve seen that California is the highest paying state, which is why it’s worth getting a phlebotomy certificate.
Find A Job
Education and certification are useless if you don’t practice with them. In other words, validate your time and efforts to become a phlebotomist by landing such a job.
The truth is that due to the great need for phlebotomists, employers will contact you as you complete your training program and earn certification. However, you should actively seek phlebotomy jobs near you.
If you had hands-on training at a hospital during your training program, you can talk to HR and look for job opportunities. It would be so much easier for you if you had made the hospital friends’ staff connect well.
Additionally, you can broaden your horizon by looking for jobs in blood donation centres, doctors, and outpatient centres.
Maintain Your Certification
You need to continue your education as a phlebotomist, it is a prerequisite to renewing your certificate. Many institutions will require you to earn continuing education (CE) credits by taking short courses that can be completed in two years.
With these, you will be able to renew your phlebotomist certificate after three years and stay up-to-date with the latest developments in the industry.
What skills do I need to be a phlebotomist?
In addition to your phlebotomy education, you must possess the following skills:
- Pay attention to the details
- Dexterity and coordination
- Customer service skills
- Ability to remain calm in stressful situations.
Frequently Asked Questions: How Do I Become a Phlebotomist?
How long does it take to become a phlebotomist?
It takes less than a year to become a phlebotomist. The main education you need to become a phlebotomist is the training program and it takes between four and eight months to complete the training program, depending on your phlebotomy school.
How can I become a certified phlebotomist?
To become a certified phlebotomist, you must be up to 18 years of age and have completed high school with a diploma to prove it or a GED equivalent.
Then get a phlebotomy certificate program from a phlebotomy school and complete the program. You will be certified upon completion of the program, but you can apply for a state license to improve your employment prospects.
How much does it cost to become a phlebotomist?
It will cost you between $700 and $4,000 depending on the phlebotomy school you choose to receive your training. Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College charges $1,500- $1,700 for its phlebotomy training program, while Austin Peay State University charges $3,650 for its training program.
Are phlebotomists in high demand?
Phlebotomists are in high demand as shown by BLS. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that 128,300 jobs were available to phlebotomists in 2018 and it is growing at 23% from 2018-2028, which is faster than average growth. This means that phlebotomists will continue to be in high demand.
Do you have to be good at math to be a phlebotomist?
Phlebotomist work involves very little math, and so does education. Your phlebotomy training program will cover anatomy, laboratory and procedural safety, venipuncture, hands-on experiences, and sample labelling in lieu of math.
Is phlebotomy a stressful job?
Phlebotomists work full time wherever they find employment and some work up to 24 hours without observing holidays, but the nature of the work is not exactly stressful. It is an entry-level job that does not demand much of the professional, but it is a better career than several other entry-level jobs.
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