Becoming A Phlebotomist: What Is Involved?
There can be any number of good reasons for wanting to become a phlebotomist. A few examples might include wanting to find a more secure job setting; another might be to work in a medical field where you get to help others, and one more might be that you want to change careers but do not want to spend a lot of time training for a new line of work. All of these are valid reasons for becoming a phlebotomist. But, what does it take to become one? Let's look into that.
The time required to complete your phlebotomist training can vary a great deal. It can run from a few months up to a couple of years if you wish to get your training through a community college. Because the main job of a phlebotomist is to properly collect blood, this training is critical, and as such, those interested in becoming a phlebotomist should attend the best training course that they have available to them.
The best phlebotomists are those who not only master the technical skills of drawing blood but also have good organizational skills. It is also important that the person be able to get along with others and be able to put those they are working on at ease. These skills are important because more and more facilities are hiring qualified phlebotomists. You may find yourself working in clinics, blood banks, hospitals, nursing homes, or labs.
To become a working phlebotomist you must obtain the education that is required by the state in which you work. These requirements vary a great deal from one state to another. Generally, you can complete this education within four months to a year (community college may take up to two years). You will need to have at least a high school GED in order to begin your training.
While it is possible (in most states) to take some of your required courses online, you will have to attend in-class courses as well. This is the only way that you can get the hand's on training that you need in order to properly set your equipment, become familiar with the different collecting methods, and actually draw blood from another person. Some examples of coursework that you may be able to take online include human anatomy and physiology, theoretical studies, and some course associated with administrative duties. But, to keep in mind that you cannot become a working phlebotomist through online studies alone.
After you have your training, your state may allow you to go right to work once you secure a job. A few states, including Louisiana and California, require that you become certified first. In all instances, remember, you must first complete your education before you will be allowed to sit for the phlebotomist certification exam. NOTE: In some cases, it is possible to take a phlebotomist exam if you have extensive, hand's on experience.
It is a good idea to get your certification regardless of whether your state requires it. More and more facilities are electing to only hire phlebotomists who have been certified. They do this for two reasons. The first is that they know that those who are certified have the level of education and knowledge needed to perform to high standards. The second reason more facilities are opting to only hire certified phlebotomists is because it reduces their exposure to legal issues and malpractice suits.
The best phlebotomist certifications come from one of three institutions: The Association for Phlebotomy Technicians, The American Society for Clinical Pathology, and The National Phlebotomy Association. Being certified by one of these esteemed institutions is what you want to strive for.
Another benefit to being certified is that it can often lead to higher paying jobs. This can be important for those who want to make the most of their training. Being certified can also lead to faster promotions within a facility. And, lastly, being certified gives you the freedom to explore just about any opportunity that may present itself. In other words, you will be prepared and ready to apply for, and qualify for, more positions.
If you are looking for a more secure job, would like to work in the medical field, and are willing to spend some time taking courses, becoming a phlebotomist may be what you are looking for. Job growth for this type of employment is expected to increase over the next decade.