A career in phlebotomy is an excellent choice for anyone who is interested in getting involved in medical care. This type of occupation ensures job stability and phlebotomists can work in a variety of settings including hospitals, private practices and nursing homes. Here are the basics that everyone interested in starting a career in phlebotomy will need to know when it comes to education, certification and training.
Step 1: Early Education and Preparation
This entry-level career can prepare an individual for jobs with greater responsibilities such as a future role in nursing or as a medical doctor. The steps to take in order to become a phlebotomist can vary from one location to the next. Many phlebotomists are able to enter into a respectable phlebotomy program with basic prior education requirements such as a high school diploma or a GED. While a diploma will typically take care of all your former education requirements, regardless of the your grade point average, it is recommended that all high school students who are interested in becoming a phlebotomist after graduation still strive to get or maintain excellent grades. This will help to give you an advantage when applying for phlebotomy courses and may also allow you to land a job that requires more responsibilities. High school students who have an interest in science subjects such as chemistry and biology also make excellent candidates for phlebotomists. Taking advanced classes involving these and other similar subjects can help to prepare you for working in a lab, testing blood samples, and in some cases, coming up with a proper diagnosis. Training in these subjects can also help take you farther in your phlebotomy career and lead you on a path to more job opportunities with higher pay rates.
Step 2: Professional Phlebotomy Training
The next step is to find phlebotomy training courses that are available in your local area. These courses are usually offered either online or at community and technical colleges. Phlebotomy programs are short-term courses that usually take less than one year to complete. During this time, you will learn all the basic skills needed in order to care for patients and handle all your daily job tasks. This includes learning the many different ways to perform successful skin punctures and venipunctures, the correct way to label samples and which tools you will need to collect each type of sample. You will also learn how to use various types of equipment within a lab and specimen handling safety requirements.
It is important to find out what the certification requirements are for the state you choose to practice in before you even begin training. This will help you to determine how much time you will need to dedicate to your education. At this time, the states of California, Louisiana, and Nevada require a person to be certified in order to practice phlebotomy. If you reside in one of these states, you will need to obtain a certification in order to start your career as a phlebotomist.
Step 3: Obtaining your Phlebotomy Certification
While it is not always required, many people who complete their phlebotomy training course choose to go on to receive their certification as well. It is possible to begin practicing phlebotomy without a certification, but this extra step can help to ensure that you will get a secure job in a respectable facility. It will also provide you with the training and expertise that you will need in order to take on a wider range of responsibilities within the field. Those who are serious about a lifelong career in the field of phlebotomy should consider getting their certification after completing training in order to have an advantage when it comes to applying for worthwhile positions.
There are five main certifications available for phlebotomists to receive through these organizations. These certification programs offer different levels of training which allow you to prepare for jobs which require more than basic phlebotomist skills. Each certification can help you to increase your level of job responsibility and pay rate. They include…
- The National Health Career Association Certified Phlebotomy Technician Certification (CPT)
- The American Society for Clinical Pathology Phlebotomy Technician Certification (PBT)
- The American Medical Technologists Registered Phlebotomy Technician Certification (RPT)
- The National Center for Competency Testing – National Certified Phlebotomy Technician Certification (NCPT)
- The American Certification Agency Certified Phlebotomy Technician Certification (CPT)
Step 4: Seeking Out Employment Opportunities and Getting Hired
With the growing demand for responsible phlebotomists and other medical professionals, it is very likely that you will be approached by a recruiter after completing your training or certification program. This will make your job search much easier, but keep in mind that you are not limited to the choices that are offered to you. Once you have received the training you need, you are free to apply for a job at any facility where your skills are needed.
Along with the skills and education that you received, it is important to remember that the role of a phlebotomist also requires plenty of patience, compassion, and an individual who enjoys helping others. This is a rewarding career opportunity with plenty of benefits and the option to move up within the industry over time.