Very few people enjoy poking another individual just to see blood. However, this is the main responsibility for a phlebotomist, and it’s a very important role and one that’s used to diagnose and treat patients. Learn what it takes to become a phlebotomist in Louisiana, as well as what type of career and wages one can expect.
To work as a phlebotomist in Louisiana, you must complete an accredited phlebotomy training program. Two organizations that accredit phlebotomy programs are the National Phlebotomy Association (NPA) and the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). Look for programs that are either NPA- or NAACLS-accredited because their programs meet the requirements set by the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute.
This is important because these programs prepare you to take the national certification exam, which is required to practice as a phlebotomist in Louisiana. There are more than a dozen accredited phlebotomy training programs in Louisiana.
Phlebotomy training program may be short-term training programs that take only a couple months to complete or may be certificate programs that take more a year to finish. The training consists of both coursework and hands-on training in a medical facility to obtain real experience doing phlebotomy procedures.
Is Any Prior Education or Training Required?
Phlebotomy training programs in Louisiana do not have prior education or training requirements in the way of prerequisite courses. However, students entering the program must be 18 years old, high school graduates and should have CPR training. Prior to starting the clinical portion of the training, the student may be required to provide proof of current immunizations, criminal background clearance, drug screening, health insurance and a physical examination.
Are Phlebotomists Required to be Certified or Licensed in Louisiana
Louisiana is one of only a couple states that require their phlebotomists be certified and licensed through the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners. To be licensed in Louisiana, the phlebotomist must show proof that he or she has successfully completed an accredited training program and passed the certification exam.
The board may also issue a “license in training” to an individual who has not yet completed the training program but is currently in a phlebotomy training program. The “license in training” allows the individual to work as a phlebotomist in a supervised environment.
How Can a Phlebotomist Become Certified?
Once you’ve completed your training program, you’re ready to take the certification exam. You can choose from the following five certification organizations.
• American Medical Technologists
• American Society for Clinical Pathology
• National Phlebotomy Association
• National Center for Competency Testing
• American Certification for Agency for Healthcare Professionals
As stated above, there are different levels of phlebotomy training. The certifying agencies listed above offer different levels of certification, so students should choose the agency that meets the requirements for the level of training they’ve received and/or choose the training program that offers the type of training to satisfy the certification requirements set by certifying body.
Is Continuing Education Required?
Phlebotomists must complete continuing education credits either through work or courses, which can usually be taken online. Phlebotomy licenses in Louisiana must be renewed every year, so individuals should ensure they’ve met the continuing education requirements to avoid having to the take exam all over again.
Salaries for Phlebotomists in Louisiana
Phlebotomists working in Louisiana earn a variety of wages, depending on where they’re located. Here are some of the cities in Louisiana and their average wages as of September 2014, as reported by Salary.com. As you can see, most of them are below the national average, which was reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as $30,150 in May 2013.
• Alexandria $25,318
• Houma $26,165
• Baton Rouge $26,950
• Monroe $27,393
• Lake Charles $28,206
• New Orleans $31,229
What Are the Job Tasks a Louisiana Phlebotomist Can and Cannot Do?
The main job of a phlebotomist is to draw blood from patients either for reasons of diagnosis and treatment or for blood banks and transfusions. The amount of responsibilities depends somewhat on the level of training the phlebotomist has obtained. They may just be allowed to draw blood through skin punctures or may be able to use venipuncture and skin puncture collections.
In addition to drawing blood, the phlebotomist will collect urine, feces and other liquid for the purpose of testing. The samples are put in containers, labeled and delivered to the lab for testing by the phlebotomist. It is also the phlebotomist’s responsibility to ensure the instruments are sterile and in good working order.
They work with the patient from beginning to end, entering the medical history into the database, verifying medical history and patient identification, and talking with the patient. Phlebotomists are not allowed to start an IV on a patient unless they’re certified to do so. They also cannot advise patients as to diagnosis or treatment.