How to Become a Phlebotomist in Under a Year
The amount of training required regarding how to become a phlebotomist can potentially vary from state to state based on phlebotomy certification requirements. This type of career can enable the professional to work with a wide variety of medical professionals performing blood draws at blood banks, hospitals, and other healthcare sites. As an example, a phlebotomist can travel to a client’s home collecting blood samples from life insurance applicants in order to determine the applicant’s eligibility.
Education and Training in Phlebotomy
The phlebotomist typically collects blood using the venipuncture procedure, which involves puncturing a vein to obtain a blood sample. Because of this, the aspiring phlebotomist will need to be comfortable working with needles and blood. However, in order to perform this type of procedure correctly, the phlebotomist must first complete a training program which covers how to perform venipuncture procedures safely and correctly, so that a student will understand the essential steps they need to take in order to avoid injuring the patient and how to protect themselves when working with blood.
Training programs in phlebotomy will usually take a year or less to complete depending on the particular school, program, and whether a student pursues certification. Some states will also have additional certification requirements in order for phlebotomists to be eligible for employment.
A training program can take as little as eight weeks or up to nine months to finish, depending on the program and school type. Programs offered at vocational schools can usually be completed quicker, whereas a community college commonly offers longer programs. Completing both clinical and instructional hours is essential to obtaining a diploma or certificate in order to qualify for employment.
Keep in mind, national certification is not usually required, but it can be helpful in obtaining employment. This can take several months to complete, depending on how well the student is prepared for the exam.
Phlebotomy certification is only required in a few states, so it’s possible to start working as a phlebotomist in under a year.
These following traits can be essential to individuals interested in pursuing a career in phlebotomy:
Because some people don’t like to have their blood drawn, a phlebotomist needs to be compassionate and understanding about a patient’s fear and anxiety. For more on this see our job description.
Since the phlebotomist inserts a needle into the vein, they need to be precise and accurate in what they do. The ability to successfully insert the needle into the vein with the first attempt is essential, as is good hand-eye coordination.
Not only will a phlebotomist need to be able to draw blood, they must also be able to do so in the correct amount, and do so for multiple tests. Phlebotomists are also responsible for correctly labeling the sample, tracking the sample, and entering it into a database. The phlebotomist must be extremely careful not to incorrectly label or mix up samples.
Many phlebotomists will work in a lab setting, while others will work for insurance companies or ambulatory services, which provides more flexibility for employment.
If you’re interested in how to become a phlebotomist, here are some general steps you need to take:
First, finish high school. In order to be accepted into a phlebotomy training program, a student will need a diploma or GED. In some cases, the aspiring phlebotomist may be able to begin their career right out of high school, however, most employers prefer postsecondary education.
Enroll into an accredited postsecondary training program. These programs typically take less than a year to complete and result in a diploma or certificate. These training programs are offered at community colleges or vocational schools. A program will offer training in anatomy, physiology, and medical terminology. Lab work and in-class learning are important components.
Once accepted into a program, a student will have to pay fees and tuition. Often, these fees will not cover the cost of uniforms or textbooks.When searching for a program, look for one that has been approved by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Lab Sciences. This accredited agency has approved more than sixty programs nationwide and features a list of approved schools on their website. An accredited program means that a specific school has reached and maintained certain education standards in phlebotomy.
Optional Phlebotomy Certification
Even if your state doesn’t require it, pursue certification. The majority of employers prefer to hire applicants who have certification in this field. You can pursue certification through the NCCT, ASCP, and the AMT.
There are different paths you can take in order to become eligible for certification, but typically, graduating from an accredited training program is the most pursued option. Also, a required amount of clinical experience is often necessary if you’re seeking national certification. Once you’re eligible, you’ll need to take and pass a three-hour long exam.
These exams usually require a fee. The exams will vary based on the certifying agency.
The National Center for Competency Testing provides an exam that features over a hundred questions and a total of twenty pretest items. A student will have a total of three hours to complete the exam and may also be required to demonstrate knowledge of venipuncture procedures.
Why Voluntary Certification in Phlebotomy Matters
In some states, certification is required in order to be eligible for employment. These states include California, Louisiana, and Nevada.
In order to maintain valid certification, the phlebotomist must complete a certain amount of continuing education hours. The amount of hours required tends to vary based on the certifying agency. However, the completion of these hours in addition to an annual fee is commonly required.
Obtaining certification will show that the certified phlebotomist is dedicated to maintaining quality work. It also shows that the individual has met education and knowledge standards that have been set by a third-party agency.
On top of this, obtaining optional certification can also significantly increase employment prospects. While earning certification in phlebotomy may take some extra work, not to mention ongoing commitment, it can result in a higher paying position.