Phlebotomy is a rewarding career that gives you the opportunity to work in the medical field without sacrificing the time and expenses necessary for many careers in the medical field. Becoming a phlebotomist allows you to help others by making it possible for doctors to run essential medical tests. As a phlebotomist, you will receive training in various blood draw techniques, and will learn how to address potential complications that could arise during blood draw procedures. With training that typically lasts less than a year and an annual salary of about $30,000, pursuing a career in phlebotomy is a great investment in your future.
Meet the Necessary Prior Qualifications
Most phlebotomist training programs will require you to have a high school diploma or GED. Phlebotomy programs don’t typically require prerequisite courses, but it can be helpful if you’ve taken some prior science classes including biology and chemistry. You’ll need to be at least 18 years old in order to legally enroll in a phlebotomy program.
Take the Right Courses
There are many options available for finding phlebotomy courses near you, including through local community colleges and career training centers. Taking a phlebotomy course will equip you with the professional skills necessary for handling a variety of situations that you may experience during your career as a phlebotomist. Some institutions offer advanced phlebotomy courses, which can increase your expertise and your earning potential. Although classes vary in length, and some specific training requirements may vary by state or institution, there are many universal aspects to phlebotomy training. Here are some basic areas that your phlebotomy course will cover:
Patients’ Rights. There are a number of legal requirements that phlebotomists are required to follow. In order to avoid a potential lawsuit, phlebotomists need to understand what rights a patient has before and during a procedure. This largely includes guidelines related to patient consent, which, if violated, can lead to accusations of assault.
Potential Complications. Although proper training should help reduce the amount of potential complications that occur during phlebotomy procedures, it’s necessary for phlebotomists to know how to handle any complications that could arise. Common complications include hematoma, nerve injury, and infection.
Sample Preparation. In addition to drawing blood, phlebotomists are trained in the proper techniques for preparing blood, or other samples, for testing. Sample preparation can include following proper labeling guidelines, transporting samples, and potentially centrifuging blood samples.
Clinical Experience. Phlebotomy is a hands-on career, which is why it’s important to practice phlebotomy skills in a clinical environment. Many of these skills can only be improved through practice, so training programs offer a clinical component as a necessary element to a phlebotomist’s training.
Pass the Exam
After you’ve completed your training, you’ll need to pass an exam in order to receive your phlebotomist certification. There are a handful of agencies that offer phlebotomist certification, including the American Medical Technologists (AMT), the National Center for Competency Training (NCCT), and the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP). Although specific licensure requirements vary by state, passing a nationally recognized phlebotomy exam is one of the biggest milestones toward a career in phlebotomy.
The final step to becoming a phlebotomist is to find employment. The good news is that phlebotomists are highly in demand, and the projected job outlook for phlebotomists is good.
Many people find their careers as phlebotomists to be highly rewarding. Furthermore, it’s possible to pursue career advancement as a phlebotomist; advanced phlebotomy classes can help you to hone your expertise and find higher-paying phlebotomy jobs.
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