Phlebotomy is the practice of drawing blood from patients for tests, transfusions, donation, and research. Phlebotomists must be familiar with the different types of tests that are requested and the effects that a patient’s diet could have on specimens. At phlebotomy schools, students learn how to take blood correctly to ensure that both the patients and specimens are unharmed. Pursue phlebotomy training if you would like to enter a rapidly growing profession with a variety of employment opportunities.
Phlebotomy Classes: What to Expect
Phlebotomy students can earn a certification in the field in as little as three months. Some programs are also available at the associate’s level and combine training in EKGs along with phlebotomy, so that students can diversify their skill sets. The prerequisites for most phlebotomy programs include a GED or high school diploma. Phlebotomy classes that students may be required to take include:
- Anatomy & physiology
- CPR & first aid
- Phlebotomy lab
- Medical law & bioethics
- Medical terminology
- Diseases of the human body
In addition to taking phlebotomy courses, students are typically required to complete an externship in order to develop the highly technical skill of intravenous blood withdrawal. Students must learn how to draw blood from babies, children, adults, and the elderly. Some phlebotomy certification programs are offered online, but students must participate at a clinical site in order to get hands-on practice.
After completing phlebotomy coursework at a college or vocational school, students typically receive a certificate of completion or a diploma. Each individual state has unique certification requirements, but most states do not require phlebotomists to have a license. In California, however, phlebotomy technicians must be certified and have a state license. Employers generally prefer hiring phlebotomists who have passed a national exam, because it indicates that they meet certain standards. Organizations that offer phlebotomist certification exams include American Medical Technologists, the American Society of Clinical Pathologists, and the National Phlebotomy Association.
Job Outlook for Phlebotomy Program Graduates
There is more to phlebotomy today than just collecting blood samples. Phlebotomists are required to explain the procedure to patients and aid them in their recovery if they experience adverse reactions. A phlebotomist must also be able to determine whether patients are taking any medications that could interfere with testing. Other duties that a phlebotomist might be required to perform on the job include therapeutic phlebotomies, bleeding time tests, and specimen preparation.
Phlebotomists typically work in hospitals and other clinical settings, but they may also be present in nursing homes, at research institutes or in private homes. Many facilities need to hire three shifts of phlebotomists. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of medical and clinical laboratory technicians, which includes phlebotomists, is expected to grow by 15% between 2010 and 2020. Growth of the elderly population will increase the need for diagnosing illness through laboratory procedures, as a result, the demand for phlebotomists will increase. In May 2012, the median annual wage of phlebotomists was $29,730.
Whether they work in an independent laboratory or in a busy hospital, phlebotomists play a crucial role in healthcare. Obtaining a phlebotomy certification can help you qualify for more job opportunities and increased pay while enhancing your subject matter expertise. If you want to quickly enter the medical field and start earning relevant healthcare experience, pursue phlebotomy training today.
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