The Basics on How to Become a Phlebotomist
With the estimated job growth surrounding phlebotomy being reported at 27%, it is highly evident as to why many are becoming increasingly interested in how to become a phlebotomist. Phlebotomists are essential personnel in the medical field, and are responsible for drawing blood needed for further analysis or even donation. Although the certification and licensing procedures vary depending on the program and state, most requirements follow similar guidelines and operations when it comes to pursuing a career in phlebotomy.
Before enrolling in a phlebotomy program, it is of course critical to have already obtained a high school diploma or GED, as well as an updated list of vaccinations upon registering. Phlebotomy programs are often offered by either local colleges or technical and vocational schools, and are available to almost anyone over the age of 18 who is interested in how to become a phlebotomist. In most cases, many prospective students are eligible for grants or scholarships in order to help assist them in tuition costs and related fees.
Phlebotomy programs typically consist of 35-40 credits surrounding courses such as Medical Terminology, Anatomy and Physiology, Healthcare Law and Ethics, courses relating to disease studies, as well as clinical labs. Clinical labs are perhaps one of the highest contributors to forming necessary phlebotomy skills, due to it providing students with much-needed “hands-on” experience. These course requirements, however, can vary depending on the facility that the student is attending, as well as their location. The combination of traditional and interactive training proves to be highly effective in ensuring that students receive the most pronounced level of experience. Many programs will require students to participate in biology electives or career skill courses as well, prior to enrolling in their externship training programs.
While hands-on experience is usually vital during everyday coursework, the majority of phlebotomy training programs also require externship experience as well. Externship training typically consists of around 1,000 hours of training at an established medical facility. It is also common for many organizations to require a certain number of “sticks” which pertains to the exact number of draws that the student has completed. Externship training is highly valuable in preparing students for a career path to phlebotomy, due to it providing them with extensive experience surrounding drawing and handling blood in a professional healthcare environment. It also helps students gain beneficial experience when it comes to working as a team in a mainstream medical setting. Although these externships do not usually involve any compensation, it is common for them to extend to possible career opportunities once certification is acquired. If the facility’s medical staff feels as though the student is thriving in the work environment, it is not a rarity for them to hire them for a permanent full-time position.
Once the student has obtained the general requirements for certification, they can become even further qualified by partaking in exams such as the American Medical Technologists (AMT) exam. The AMT and similar exams pertaining to the healthcare industry are great tools for becoming even more prominently certified in the phlebotomy field, resulting in job opportunities to become much more easily attainable. The American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians (ASPT) also offers an exam specifically designed for potential phlebotomists to acquire additional certification. While these exams are often optional, it should be noted that many states such as California require additional licensing before practicing phlebotomy in a professional medical facility.
Before officially enrolling in the phlebotomy program of your choice, it is often recommended to become CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) certified. Many certification programs require CPR training become completion of the program, as well as prior to enlisting in an official externship program. It is best to become certified beforehand in order to be able to direct your focus solely to phlebotomy during both your coursework and externship.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the last number of reported jobs in the phlebotomy field was over 100,000. Due to the BLS also considering the phlebotomy industry to be growing “much faster” than the average career fields, it is no wonder why more and more individuals are looking into how to become a phlebetomist each year. With such dedicated training programs that see and support students throughout their journey to professional phlebotomy, the process of becoming a certified phlebotomist is proving to be one of the most promising avenues to pursue.