Helping Medical Professionals Analyze Medical Conditions
Blood is a necessary life force that can be analyzed to determine medical condition or transferred to another human beings for survival. A phlebotomist is the medical professional who draws blood for diagnosis or medical transfusions.
To become a phlebotomist in Washington state requires licensing under the following conditions.
- Prerequisites. Applicants must have a high-school diploma, GED, or equivalent and must be able to read, write, and talk proficiently in English.
- Training. Candidates require formal training either through a post-secondary program at an institution accredited by the U.S. Department of Education or through an apprenticeship program supervised by a healthcare practitioner. The former can be documented with transcripts containing the date of completion and the latter through an attestation submitted by the practitioner. Military training is also acceptable if it matches the standards of the state. This also requires an official transcript.
- AIDS education. They must have completed at least seven hours of AIDs training.
- Verification. The application must list all states in which the candidate held a phlebotomy credential or applied for one but did not receive it. The verification must come from a form filled in and submitted in the area of the original credential.
- Statements. Candidates must verify that they are in sound physical and mental health, do not have felony convictions or loss of credentialing or privilege, have no impairments due to substance abuse, have no disciplinary actions or professional liability. If they do have any of these histories, they must explain the circumstances.
Candidates must then submit a Department of Health application with all the necessary documentation and pay the appropriate fee. The application may be made through a paper form or online.
Certification lasts two years and must be renewed on the licensee’s birthday.
Phlebotomists require several qualities to succeed in their profession. Compasion lets them empathize with patients who may be afraid of the sight of blood. Attention to detail ensures that strict medical procedures and sterility standards are followed. Dexterity and hand-eye coordination enables phlebotomists to use their hands to draw blood at the first attempt, minimizing any discomfort that a patient may experience.
In Washington, phlebotomists take vital signs and prep patients for examination, prepare the collection tools under sterile conditions, perform testing such as electrocardiography or diagnostic testing, draw blood through such procedures as venipuncture and capillary puncture, collect specimens, teach patients how to collect their own urine and stool specimens, observe patients, and record their activities.
They require supervision by a healthcare professional such as a medical doctor, registered nurse, or advanced registered nurse practitioner. The healthcare professional need not be present during the actual collection procedure but must be physically present in the facility so he or she can be immediately available, if needed.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the 1,810 phlebotomists in Washington State average $34,020 per year, or $16.36 per hour. The lowest earners make less than $25,940 per year, or $12.47 per hour. The best-paid receive over an annual $44,360, or $21.33 hourly.
These amounts are generally better than the pay nation-wide. Phlebotomists throughout the country earn a mean $31,410 per year, or $15.10 per hour. Their annual range is $21,760 to $43,190, which equals $10.46 to $20.77 hourly.
Within the state, the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue area shows the highest employment, with 930 phlebotomists averaging $34,810 per year, or $16.74 per hour. The highest wages in the city, however, belong to the Portland-Vancounver-Hillsboro area at a mean $37,330 annually, or $17.95 hourly. In non-metropolitan regions, Southwestern Washington contains the best pay at a mean $35,180 yearly, or $16.92 hourly.
While the BLS does not specify employment type for the professions with the state, the agency does reveal that throughout the US, most phlebotomists work for general medical and surgical hospitals, medical and diagnostic labs, and other ambulatory health care services. The highest pay belongs to insurance carriers, averaging $42,650 per year, or $20.51 per hour, followed by companies that managed other companies at a mean annually $36,680, or $17.64 hourly, and individual and family services at $36,620 per year, or $17.61 per hour.
The BLS predicts that jobs for phlebotomists in the US will jump by 27 percent from 2012 to 2022. This is higher than the growth projected for all miscellaneous healthcare support occupations at 23 percent, and more than double the forecast increase for all jobs in all industries at 11 percent. Demand will be highest in hospitals, diagnostic labs, and blood donor centers. An aging baby boom population will require blood analysis as they seek medical attention so they can remain active and healthy longer.
Doctors and other medical professionals typically require blood work to analyze patients. Increasing federal access to healthcare by patients will also improve demand. Job prospects will be best for those who have professional certification.