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How to Become a Phlebotomist
If you are looking for a new and exciting career in the medical field that will provide stable employment, a positive work environment, and deals with people, you may consider being a phlebotomist.
What Is a Phlebotomist?
Although you may not be familiar with the medical terminology of phlebotomists, you more than likely know who they are and what they do.
A phlebotomist is an individual that draws blood samples in a wide variety of situations and works in many health care circumstances.
What Phlebotomists Do
Phlebotomists are medical professionals who take blood from patients for several reasons, including:
- Blood donations for blood banks
- Taking blood for tests
- Blood transfusions
These individuals have the proper training to handle precise medical equipment, administer medical procedures, and safely collect and manage samples.
Where Do Phlebotomists Work?
Phlebotomists work in many different health care situations. You can find these individuals working here:
- Medical clinics
- Health care facilities
- Private practices
- Senior citizen homes
- Outpatient care centers
How Do You Become a Phlebotomist? A Step-by-Step Guide
Any time you want to enter into an industry, specific training is often necessary, including those for a phlebotomy career. However, getting into this line of work is not as difficult as some may think. If you want to know how to become a phlebotomist, this successful career is obtainable in four steps.
- Earn a High School Diploma or GED
- Complete an Accredited Phlebotomy Program
- Get Certified
- Find a Job
Step 1: Earn a High School Diploma or GED
Almost every secondary school requires an individual to have their high school diploma or complete their GED (General Education Development). It can be helpful to take high school classes such as chemistry, biology, and health sciences. But depending on the accredited training program you choose, these classes may not always be necessary.
Step 2: Complete an Accredited Phlebotomy Program
Many technical schools, community colleges, and vocational schools will offer an accredited phlebotomy training program. Naturally, not all phlebotomy school courses will be identical, and it will take some research to find the best program suitable for you.
You may also require an up-to-date background check, criminal record check, and first-aid and CPR certification.
Once you decide on a school, successfully finishing an accredited phlebotomy program will start your new career on the right path. Having the proper education and training is vital for any job, especially one that works with people and blood collection.
Although some states do not require a phlebotomy education and professional certification, you will find it more challenging to secure phlebotomy jobs without one.
These programs can last anywhere between eight weeks and an entire year. The timeline will depend on the extent of the course material and if certification is included or not. Introductory classes can start at only $700, while more extensive phlebotomy programs can reach upward of $3,000.
Step 3: Get Certified
Passing the phlebotomy program will get you into the field, but many employers will not hire you without completing the certification exams. Although some cities do not require active phlebotomy certification to work as a phlebotomist, many organizations will prefer it and only hire individuals with proper credentials.
You will have to write a specific test for your local area to get certified. Some states do not require certification, but it can help many individuals just starting their phlebotomy career to stand out among other job applicants when fresh out of school.
Step 4: Find a Job
Phlebotomists work in various places, from hospitals to doctor’s offices and blood donation centers. Finding a job in this industry is easy if you know where to look. Local employment job banks, employment agencies, and searching online through job banks can all be terrific options when looking for a phlebotomist job.
One exceptional online platform is HealthJob. There are regular postings for positions in the health industry, including phlebotomists.
Read the FAQs below if you have any other questions about this promising career.
How Much Do Phlebotomists Earn?
Phlebotomists have a wide salary range based on their education, experience, and work environment. New graduates without much work experience can start with an average salary of approximately $26,900 annually, although the average resides around $36,300 per year.
A high-paying salary for phlebotomists will extend up to $50,700 or more, making it a terrific career choice for many individuals.
What's the Difference Between a Phlebotomist and a Phlebotomy Technician?
There is a slight difference between these two positions. A phlebotomist does blood collection of patients. However, a phlebotomy technician assists them, sterilizes tools, and performs clerical duties.
In some work environments, these job descriptions are the same. However, in larger medical offices, you may find both positions active.
What Are the Continuing Education Requirements for Phlebotomists?
Phlebotomists can continue with education even after they graduate from the program and work in the field. Many locations recognize various job levels, including Phlebotomist I and Phlebotomist II.
By enhancing your education, you can make yourself available for more job opportunities and will perform more duties. Moving forward for more clinical training will also provide you with better hands-on experience and working knowledge in the industry.
Do Phlebotomists Need to Be Certified?
In some states, phlebotomists do not need certification to perform their job. Although, many employers will require an active certification from job applicants when considering them for an open position.
Being a certified phlebotomist helps improve your job prospects. If you are up against another individual with similar skills, but you are not adequately certified, chances are, the employer will choose the other person.
If you are someone who is not scared or queasy at the sight of blood and enjoy spending time in a career in medicine with healthcare professionals, a phlebotomist job may be a terrific option. The medical industry always needs exceptional individuals to handle these tasks, and it is one of the faster-growing jobs available.
You should be comfortable with and enjoy working with people of all ages, be an excellent communicator, and have an acute attention to detail. Using a computer to enter and analyze data for specimens is vital, along with the ability for multi-tasking, so phlebotomists should be efficient and tech-savvy.
Check out the phlebotomist programs below and see if a career in this field is right for you.
Radhika Jayaraman helped research this guide.