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Last Updated: September 07, 2021

How to Become a Phlebotomist?

Phlebotomists are the people who primarily work in hospitals and similar spaces where they have to draw blood for laboratory testing. This will include tasks like conducting research in the field, conducting tests, transfusions, and even blood donation. Candidates who wish to work in the healthcare sector but do not want to choose a profession that requires long years of study will be able to choose this profession.

While the tasks assigned to a phlebotomist might seem insignificant when compared to other professions in the field, this is one of the professions that can aid in the primary diagnosis of most diseases. To be a phlebotomist, candidates will have to complete a course in phlebotomy and have sufficient laboratory experience. After this, most candidates will require a special state or national certification which will help them practice phlebotomy in the state of their choice.

Eligibility to Become a Phlebotomist

The eligibility requirement for becoming a phlebotomist includes completing one’s high school education with a concentration on the sciences along with taking up an accredited phlebotomy program. Candidates will then be able to apply for a state or national certification to be a phlebotomist. Though it isn’t compulsory for most programs, it is ideal for candidates to also have a CPR certification before enrolling in the program.

The basic eligibility requirements are-

Benefits of Becoming a Phlebotomist

The most popular careers in the healthcare industry are that of a doctor or a nurse. But there are innumerable other options that can let candidates stay in the same industry without having to invest a lot of time and money before being able to work. People who opt for this profession will be able to work in different settings including infusion centers, urgent cares, and labs along with multi-specialty hospitals and small-scale clinics.

The benefits of being a phlebotomist are-

Steps to Become a Phlebotomist

The steps to be a phlebotomist range from completing high school to getting certified at a state or national level. These steps can be listed as follows-

Step 1- Candidates who wish to be a phlebotomist will have to start their preparation from a high school level where they must either successfully complete high school, high school diploma or take the GED test. It is ideal for candidates to focus on subjects in the sciences to be able to excel in their future careers.

Step 2- Though it isn’t mandatory, most phlebotomist programs and career options often require the candidate to have CPR certification. Most candidates will be able to take this certification while they are in high school or right after it.

Step 3- Candidates will now be able to enroll for an accredited phlebotomist program which has been accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Service. This course will be a postsecondary non-degree program that will have a duration of less than a year.

Step 4- After completing the phlebotomy program, candidates will be able to certify themselves as phlebotomists at a state or national level. This certification is not compulsory to be a phlebotomist except in states like California, Washington, Nevada, and Louisiana where they will require state certification.

Step 5- Most hospitals and clinics will require candidates to have a set number of hours in clinical training before they can be permanent staff. This training is either calculated based on the number of clinical hours they have spent or on the number of venipunctures they have done. The number of hours required will vary between different workplaces.

Courses for Phlebotomy

The program that one has to do to be a phlebotomist is a postsecondary non-degree program that is offered by community colleges, vocational schools, and even technical schools. The duration of this program can range anywhere between 6 months to a year. The course will primarily involve the study of drawing blood and at the same time will contain information relating to laboratory procedures.

The subjects they have to learn during the course are anatomy, physiology, blood and cell composition, blood sampling, laboratory safety, CPR, etc. They will also be getting hands-on training for venipuncture techniques, fingerstick methods for hard-to-find veins, and even butterfly techniques for the elderly and children. The courses that are chosen by the candidate must be accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Services.

Certifications to Become Phlebotomist

Though certification is not mandatory for candidates to be phlebotomists, having one will let them find better-paying jobs within the industry. Candidates who wish to practice in states like California, Washington, Nevada, and Louisiana will have to get special state certifications. The other option that they will have, is to get a national certification in the course which will exempt them from taking special state specializations. At the same time, candidates need to check which national certification is accepted by the state in which they wish to work since states like California only accept certifications from 6 agencies. The certifications that candidates can take include- To apply for certification, candidates will require a minimum number of credits through the program they have done along with a set number of hours in clinical training. Candidates must have a form provided by their supervisor stating that the candidate is competent enough for the profession.

Maintaining Credentials

Candidates who have been certified nationally or state-wise will have to continue earning educational credits to maintain their status in the field. They will also be able to take up a Donor Phlebotomy Technician certification which will increase their chance of employment and let them work in blood donation centers.

Most often, the certification that the candidate has taken will have to be renewed annually. This will be based on the kind of certification the candidate chooses.

Popular Colleges for Phlebotomy

Places of Work

Since the work of a phlebotomist includes drawing blood, they are often employed in spaces with extensive use of laboratories. They are mostly employed in hospitals, diagnostic and medical laboratories along with doctor’s offices. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, almost People who plan to be a phlebotomist must also be prepared for traveling from office to office if they are part of mobile blood donation centers. Their work is full-time in nature with shifts that can be of 8 hours, 10 hours, or even 12 hours.

Career Prospects

This career path has an estimated job increase of 17% from 2019 to 2029 which is way higher than other professions. The projected employment until the year 2029 is estimated to be around 155,500. This implies that candidates who opt for this profession will always be in demand and will never have to keenly spend time hunting for jobs. Their job description essentially implies collecting blood samples from patients for various purposes. Though drawing blood would be the most common task they do, they will also have to be efficient in marking the collected samples and storing them efficiently. It is expected of them to talk to patients and donors amiably to reduce their nervousness during the process.

Candidates will have to verify the credentials of the patient while marking their blood samples since even minor errors in labeling and listing out the samples can create problems of high magnitude. Sometimes, apart from labeling the samples, they will also have to enter these details in the database. The median salary estimate made by the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics amounts to $36,320 per year. This can be calculated to $17.46 per hour.

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