Phlebotomy training is the gateway to a long successful career as a phlebotomist and an excellent springboard to other healthcare careers. During training, students learn the right and safest techniques for collecting blood samples to be used in diagnostic tests, blood transfusions, medical research and blood donations. The students also learn how to process, manage, preserve and transport blood specimens.
A comprehensive phlebotomy training program should empower students to:
- Use and fill specimen request forms accurately.
- Identify patients and label blood specimen containers correctly using electronically printed labels.
- Understand the tests indicated on the specimen requisition form and use the right preparation and collection procedures.
- Draw blood into the right tubes with the right additives.
- Explain blood collection procedures to patients and prepare patients accordingly.
- Practice standard operating procedures (SOPs), universal precautions and the necessary forms of asepsis.
- Perform capillary (skin) puncture, vein puncture, blood collection into tubes, and restoring the hemostasis of punctured sites.
- Instruct patients on post-puncture care.
- Order tests according to physician requisition and deliver specimens to the laboratory.
Training programs should produce phlebotomy graduates who can work excellently in the challenging, dynamic, fast-paced settings in hospitals, doctor offices, clinics, nursing homes, reference laboratories and research centers. In fact, with phlebotomy jobs projected to increase by 27% through 2022, adding over 27,000 jobs to the market, joining an accredited phlebotomy school or program increases employment opportunities in the ever-expanding healthcare sector. And with staff-level phlebotomists earning an average of $13.50 per hour ($28,080 per year) and supervisor phlebotomists earning an average of $20.08 per hour ($41,766 per year), joining a phlebotomy training program is a stepping-stone to a good career.
Prerequisites to Joining Accredited Phlebotomy Training Program
While most schools training phlebotomists do not usually require outstanding academic achievements, a high school diploma or GED with good grades in biology and chemistry can give an applicant a competitive advantage. Phlebotomy is heavily science-oriented and applicants should be good in the sciences to cope well with the training exercises and pass certification exams.
To qualify for phlebotomy training, a student should:
- Be at least 18 years old.
- Fluent in written and spoken English.
- Have a GED or High School Diploma; university/college units are desirable.
- Have a Proof of current measles, mumps, rubella and Varicella Zoster immunization or titer.
- Have a Proof of Hepatitis B vaccination or a signed vaccination waiver.
- Have a Proof of negative TB skin test or Chest X-Ray within 1 year of training.
- Undergo a physical Exam by a licensed physician indicating that the student can participate in clinical training with no limitations.
- Undergo a background check
Considerations to Make When Choosing a Phlebotomy Training Program
The right training program should give students the requisite theoretical knowledge and hands-on skills. The program should offer the latest blood collection techniques and skills and empower students to use the latest equipment safely while also boosting the students’ communication and people skills for effective patient care.
When choosing a phlebotomy training program, make sure it:
- Is an accredited training program that is approved by the state and recognized by certification agencies.
- Is offered by competent lecturers and tutors.
- Is affordable and has no hidden costs.
- Is offered by a school with good training resources including text books, skills lab, lecture materials, training supplies, clinical rotation, and personal protection equipment.
- Takes at least 20 hours: Certification bodies require at least 20 hours of training.
- Flexible enough to fit your time constraints especially if you are working or having family responsibilities.
- Is offered in a school near your residence.
- Awards a certificate of completion
- Prepares students for phlebotomy certification exams.
Scope of Phlebotomy Training
Training programs for phlebotomy fall into three categories:
- Associate’ Degree
- Bachelor’s Degree
Certificate courses are the most popular because they require shorter durations of time to complete. However, ambitious students should opt for Associate’s Degree and Bachelor’s Degree programs that offer the prospects of better salaries and career advancement.
Phlebotomy training requires 20-40 hours of classroom work and at least 100 hours of practical training. In fact, typical theoretical training usually take 2-4 semesters depending on the college where the student is enrolled and the type of phlebotomy course being pursued. Moreover, the curriculum for phlebotomy programs include courses that empower students to maintain blood sample integrity and avoid common mistakes that can create risks of infection for patients and phlebotomists and cause blood sample contamination.
Common phlebotomy courses include:
- Human anatomy and physiology
- Clinical chemistry
- Medical terminology
- Infections and Infections Control
- Phlebotomy techniques and procedures
- Venipuncture and micro-collection techniques
- Blood processing, preservation, compatibility testing, blood banking and transfusion.
- Communication skills
- Basic legal & lab safety questions
l. Basic Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation
Regardless of the scope of a training program, the objective is to cover every step required in phlebotomy, from proper hand-washing, blood collection to blood processing and sending to the laboratory for medical testing. Therefore, the training is divided into a theoretical part and a practical part. Theoretical classes help students to gain the knowledge and skills needed in blood collection and processing and prepares them for practical training. And during supervised practical training, students who have covered classroom units undergo hands-on training in a hospital or clinic setting where they actually collect and process blood samples under guidance of experienced phlebotomists. At the end of their training, students are given program completion certificates and begin their preparations for certification exams.
Once students have completed phlebotomy training, they should take certification exams to boost their chances of employment, improve their earning potential and increase their advancement opportunities.
The main certification bodies in the USA are:
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
In some states, only certified phlebotomists can work; while in a state like California, a phlebotomist must be licensed.
Phlebotomy is a healthcare career with many employment opportunities and a decent salary. But to get a job as a phlebotomist, an individual must undergo thorough training in the techniques for collecting, processing, preserving and transporting blood samples to be used in diagnostic tests, blood transfusions, medical research and blood donations. Therefore, completing an approved phlebotomy training program is the gateway to a long successful career as a phlebotomist and an excellent springboard to other healthcare careers.