Phlebotomists draw and prepare blood for medical testing, transfusions or donation. Phlebotomists are trained to collect blood via venipuncture, finger pricks, or in the case of infants, heel pricks. Phlebotomists typically work in hospitals, clinics, outpatient care facilities, diagnostic laboratories and blood donation centers.
Phlebotomists play a vital role in the administration and management of blood draws for diagnosis, transfusion and research purposes.
On any given day, a Phlebotomist may be asked to:
- Prepare patients for blood draws
- Verify patient identities and ensure proper labeling of collection vials
- Explain blood draw or transfusion process to patients
- Guide nervous patients through blood draws
- Conduct blood draws and transfusions
- Assist patients who experience adverse reactions following a blood draw or transfusion
- Follow directions of supervising physicians
- Identify, label and track blood samples
- Gather, inventory, and maintain blood draw instruments and supplies
Above all, Phlebotomists must care for patients and take steps to prevent tainting or degradation of samples, such as Hemolysis, which may impact the accuracy of tests.
Preparing For Certification
There are different certification requirements in each state. in some you need a college degree, in others you just need a GED equivalent or high school diploma. Check what is the case in the state you live in.
Then, you will need to follow phlebotomy classes and pass the exam at the end. There are a number of organizations and associations that can provide valid certification. Some of them are:
• American Society for Clinical Pathology’s Board of Certification (ASCP-BOC)
• National Health Career Association (NHA)
• American Credentialing Agency (ACA)
• American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA)
• American Medical Technologists (AMT)
• National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT)
Before choosing what certification to get, double-check that this will be fine to meet the requirements in your state. After that you can enroll to the classes of an education center and start your journey.
While the tax for the final exam is typically set, with same price across most testing centers, the cost of the training classes varies. And not only the cost, but also the quality of the education and the form of delivery.
There are online classes, day or evening live courses and also hybrid form programs that include both. You can choose according to your preference and lifestyle.
Phlebotomy curriculum includes the procedures you need to use in your job. The exam you will need to pass can be either in a paper written form or via computer. Computer testing uses technology called “CAT”, which means that questions are selected by the computer based on your answer to the previous ones.
In addition to successfully passing the certification exam, most organizations also require two hundred hours of phlebotomist training and one hundred venipunctures in a clinical practice, prior to providing the phlebotomy certification.
Some hospitals require additional on-the-job training hours before working there as a phlebotomist. However, in a lot of cases, you are paid a set wage while undergoing the training.
What Certifications or Degrees Do I Need to Become a Phlebotomist?
Many employers require candidates for Phlebotomist positions to hold a non-degree diploma or certificate from an accredited college, university, technical school or vocational school. Phlebotomy programs typically last less than a year, and include classroom instruction and hands-on training.
An employer may also require candidates to obtain and maintain certification from a certifying organization, including the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT), National Healthcareer Association (NHA), the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) or the American Medical Technologists (AMT). Maintaining certification with any of these organizations may require continuing education credits or additional training.
Four states—California, Washington, Nevada and Louisiana—require Phlebotomists to acquire special state certification.
The outlook for the Phlebotomy Technician field is positive, according to the U.S. Department of Labor—experts predict that the field will continue to grow by more than 20 percent in the coming years. Due in large part to advances in healthcare technology and longer life expectancies among the population, the growth offers opportunities for qualified candidates in Florida and throughout the United States.
Phlebotomy Technicians are valued members of many medical care teams, including in hospitals, blood donation centers, testing facilities, medical clinics and more.