What Training Do I Need to Become a Phlebotomist?

Phlebotomists are clinical technicians who draw blood from patients at hospitals and laboratories. Training to become a phlebotomist is available at many community colleges and universities all over the United States, and it can qualify you to earn national phlebotomy certification. Some phlebotomists find training on the job in place of formal education. Schools offering Clinical Laboratory Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Formal Education

Most phlebotomists today take a one- or two-semester college training program in phlebotomy. These programs include courses on medical terminology, anatomy, and technology. Students learn techniques for drawing blood, such as venipuncture. Phlebotomy instructors teach methods for proper handling of specimens. Most students get supervised field experience at local clinics or hospitals.

Some college phlebotomy programs include courses in psychology and communication. These skills are important for phlebotomists because some patients may be nervous or scared. Phlebotomists must keep the patient calm and explain the drawing procedure. They also communicate results of tests to nurses, doctors, and lab technicians.

Important Facts About This Occupation

Median Salary (2014) $30,670
Job Outlook (2012-2022) 27%
Entry-level Education Post-secondary certificate
Similar Occupations Medical assistants, medical transcriptionists, physician assistants

On-the-Job Training

A college program isn't always required to become a phlebotomist. Some hospitals, clinics, and blood banks provide on-the-job training for phlebotomy applicants. This method of teaching phlebotomy is becoming less common as more importance is placed on standardized education. Openings can still be found, particularly in rural areas.

Phlebotomists who are trained this way can find other jobs later, as many employers allow work experience to substitute for college training. California is an exception to this, as state law requires all phlebotomists to complete a certain amount of class training in addition to being certified.

Certification

After receiving training, you can take exams to be certified as a phlebotomist at the state or national level. This opens up further job opportunities with employers who require certification, and it can lead to higher pay. California, Nevada, and Louisiana require all phlebotomists who work in the state to earn certification.

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