Phlebotomy is a skill that can only learned through professional training whether at a formal college or on a vocational course at a hospital or other medical center. Phlebotomy training could lead to a new career or serve as an addition to a current medical background. After completing phlebotomy training, the student should gain a certificate or it can be very difficult to find work. In fact, phlebotomy requirements in Louisiana or California include holding a certificate.
Phlebotomy requirements primarily involve taking blood samples from patients in hospitals, nursing homes or laboratories. Professionals may have further responsibilities of preparing the blood for further examination or even conducting tests themselves.
There are a number of options on how to gain phlebotomy training. While associate’s and bachelor’s degrees are available, those who want to begin working earlier can enrol in a vocational course that usually lasts for around three months. Typically, ten weeks are spent on theory followed by a final week of internship where students have the chance to put into practice what they have learned. Some schools also give students the chance to train partially or fully online; however, these students will still need to do some in-person training.
On the course, students increase their medical and practical knowledge. They must learn the proper procedures for using and handling needles, preparing the patient for the blood test and how to a medical report in the correct manner. Students also need to gain a basic understanding of the human body, focusing on the circulatory system.
After completing a phlebotomy course, students can receive a certification from one of three sources: the National Phlebotomy Association, the Society of Phlebotomy Technicians and the American Association for Clinical Pathology. Each of these organizations has different requirements so it is important the student picks the most suitable option. Phlebotomy requirements include the number of blood tests taken, hours spent in practical training and hours spent in the classroom. Certifications each also require students to create a professional membership with the organization and to complete an examination that differs between organizations.
The number of qualified phlebotomists is low while the demand for these professionals continues to grow. While in the past, general medical doctors would carry out phlebotomy tasks, this is no longer so. With the increase in hospitals setting up their own laboratories, more phlebotomy jobs are being created.
The salary for a phlebotomist can be reasonably low, at an average of $12.84 per hour, due to the low amount of training needed. However, this differs widely depending on how many years experience the professional has achieved. A low end salary for those beginning a career can be as low as $8.28 per hour but can increase after just ten years to anything up to $18.73.