Phlebotomy is the practice of drawing blood from patients and taking the blood specimens to the laboratory to prepare for testing.
Getting your phlebotomy certification is an excellent stepping-stone to other careers in health care such as medical assisting. It is also known as venipuncture in the medical industry.
As a certified phlebotomy technician you will be trained in the latest methods of obtaining blood specimens by venipuncture and micro-collection techniques. You will be an important member of the clinical laboratory team.
New diagnostic techniques, clinical laboratory technology and automated instruments have greatly increased the amount of and the demand for, medical laboratory testing performed by phlebotomy technicians.
As a clinical lab career, phlebotomy technicians have many options of employment; they may work in hospitals, independent laboratories, physicians’ offices, clinics, health maintenance organizations, public health agencies, nursing homes and research institutions.
With your Phlebotomy Technician certificate and be working in the medical field as a phlebotomist in as little as 90 days.
What Are The Requirements To Get Your Certification?
A certification exam must be taken and passed in order to become a certified phlebotomist; you must take and pass a certification exam from a nationally accredited organization. The most popular certification exam is given by the National Phlebotomy Association in all 50 states. The price can vary from $60 to $199 for the test. Check with potential employers in your area for the recommended organization.
Before you take any exam, you must meet some minimum requirements. First, you must be a high school graduate (GED is accepted as well). Second, you must have a minimum of 100 blood draws from your training. Third, you are required to have a minimum number of classroom training hours. The number varies, according to which organization is giving the exam.
While not exactly a “requirement” per se, having good peoples skills is certainly beneficial for anyone considering this career path. The people skills aspect is overlooked, but you will be dealing with people from all walks of life each day on the job, so you should be honest with yourself about your abilities to work with the public.
Being organized and efficient is also higher desirable skills as you will need to be able to juggle and prioritize responsibilities.
Where Can I Start My Training?
You want to research thoroughly the program you choose. The quality of their phlebotomy classes and training directly correlates with your odds for a successful career in the future. With that said, you must complete your training with accredited institution, university or medical technical center that offers a specific certification for phlebotomy. Most programs can be completed within a short time period, usually less than a year.
The program will include hands on real world training and theoretical classroom lectures and discussions. Your hands on training will include the proper way to handle blood draws, needles, hazardous materials, etc…. It will help you acquire the necessary skills of properly locating insertion site and drawing of blood.
The classroom portion will include discussions on the ethics and legal considerations of a career in phlebotomy. Statistical analysis and results interpretation will also be covered in the classroom. You will also be trained on the basics the cardiovascular system, including coursework in anatomy and physiology. This will set the foundation for understanding why your role in critical in the healthcare industry.
Most students find this part as a stepping stone to a lifetime of continuing education in the medical field.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of clinical lab workers, including phlebotomy technicians, is expected to grow as the volume of laboratory tests increases with both population growth and the development of new types of tests.
Since every medical lab needs a phlebotomist, you will always have a variety of employers and employment opportunities across the country. The demand will always exist since almost all medical work requires a blood draw at some point. In fact, the Labor department has forecasted a growth of over 15% for phlebotomy technicians over the next 6 years.
As a recession proof career, we have seen an increase in the medical wages, across the board in the US. As staffing shortages continue to build up for trained professionals, wages continue to grow in order to recruit the best technicians in the healthcare industry.
The average starting pay as of 2013 is $29,700 per year. With experience and continued training, you can expect to make a salary in the middle to upper 30,000’s annually.
Do I have to get certified to work as a phlebotomist?
While only a handful of US states currently require certification, it is certainly beneficial for you to get certified before starting your career. This will help you stand out from others looking to get started and a certificate is always favorable for any potential employer.
So while the answer is “no” you don’t have to be certified to find a job as a phlebotomist, you will find it much more difficult to have a successful career without being certified.