Phlebotomists often work in hospitals and for doctors’ offices and laboratories. They usually go through a training program that prepares them to draw blood and perform other tasks when needed. Those interested in this career should take a careful look at the job itself and the training required.
Requirements for a Phlebotomist
Training programs designed for phlebotomists typically require that new students are at least 18 years old. Many vocational schools that offer job training for high school students also offer these programs. Students gain some on the job training and leave with a certificate that lets them take the exams required to work as a certified phlebotomist. Those enrolling in programs at a later age must have either the equivalent of a high school diploma or a diploma.
What Education and Training do Phlebotomists Need?
In addition to a high school diploma, phlebotomists also need to go through a training program. While many medical professions require that workers earn an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree, phlebotomists only need a certificate that shows they successfully completed a phlebotomist training program. This program can last for just six months, but many of the programs in Nebraska take place over the course of one year. While working in the classroom, students will spend some time working in health clinics and other medical facilities. This lets them work directly with patients and gain experience drawing blood from living patients.
Are Phlebotomists Certified?
Phlebotomists working in Nebraska must have certification from an accredited organization. The state gives recent graduates the chance to get certified from several groups, including the American Association of Medical Personnel, the American Society of Clinical Pathologists or the American Medical Technologists, which many refer to as AMT.
What is the Certification Process?
Nebraska is one of several states that does not require that phlebotomists have a license, but the state does require that those interested in working in the field obtain a certificate and register with the state. Most organizations that offer certification require that applicants have a minimum of 1,000 hours of work experience and show proof that they graduated from an accredited phlebotomist training program. The examinations offered by those organizations ask applicants questions about their medical training and the legal and ethical issues surrounding the medical field. After passing the test, phlebotomists will need to register with the state. Nebraska requires that they have a driver’s license from the state, pass physical health tests and submit to a drug test and a background screening test.
Do They Need to Continue Their Education?
Phlebotomy is one of the few medical fields that does not require any additional education. Once students complete the basic training program and pass the certification exam, they can go to work in the field right away. Some phlebotomists may decide to go back to school and seek certificates or diplomas in other fields to increase their future opportunities.
Salary for a Phlebotomist in Nebraska
The median salary for phlebotomists working in Nebraska today is close to $27,000 a year. Those with several years or more of experience may make more than $35,000 a year. Students just starting out in the field can expect to make closer to $21,000 or $22,000 a year. These figures apply more to those working in larger cities like Lincoln, where the cost of living is higher and there are more medical facilities. Those living in the more rural cities and towns might find that they make less but that they also need less to live comfortably.
Duties of a Phlebotomist
Phlebotomists are responsible for drawing blood from patients. They usually take blood samples when a doctor needs help determining the illness that a patient has. A phlebotomist will carefully clean the area with an alcohol wipe or another product before removing the blood. Drawing blood directly from a vein is the most common procedure done by a phlebotomist. The phlebotomist will place a needle into the vein and ensure that the blood sample fills a small glass or plastic vial. After cleaning the site and applying a bandage, the phlebotomist will label the vial and send it to a laboratory for testing. Phlebotomists may also take blood samples in a different way that requires the pricking of a finger. They usually do this on diabetic patients.
Legally Permissible Tasks
The only medical task that a phlebotomist can legally do is draw blood. They are also responsible for identifying the samples drawn and may be responsible for taking those samples to a laboratory or testing center. They can also talk with patients and explain the procedure to them. Phlebotomists cannot legally dispense medical advice, run tests or complete physical exams. Many phlebotomists later go back to college and train to work in other fields and areas of a medical facility, which increases their daily duties.