Just like other medical careers, phlebotomy is increasingly becoming important not only in America but also in other parts of the world. It is a good path to follow, especially if you are comfortable working with needles and seeing blood for the sake of improving the health of the sick.
What are the Duties of Phlebotomists?
Phlebotomists are clinical laboratory technicians who are responsible for drawing blood for medical tests, blood donations, blood transfusions or research. They also perform other administrative tasks such as answering phones and bookkeeping.
Due to the fact that blood collection is needed almost every minute, phlebotomists can find work in medicine-related practice. They work closely with doctors, nurses, surgeons and medical researchers in almost all categories of medical work. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment prospects for phlebotomists will grow steadily and continue to be promising in the coming years.
How to Become a Phlebotomist in West Virginia
Fortunately, it is not hard to become a phlebotomist in the state of West Virginia. The following smart steps are meant to guide you on how to achieve this dream:
Step 1: Graduate from High School
Earning a high school diploma or a General Education Development (GED) certificate is a basic prerequisite for entering a reputable phlebotomy institution. Because phlebotomy is a science-oriented field, be sure to pass subjects such as mathematics, biology and chemistry with flying colors. You must also be at least 18 years of age and free from any communicable disease to be eligible.
Step 2: Enroll in a Phlebotomy Training Program
Depending on your preferences and financial status, you can either enroll at a college or technical school. Just make sure that the school of your choice is accredited by the American Society of Clinical pathologists and that its programs will prepare you adequately for the final certification exam.
During these short-term courses, which typically take from three to six months to complete, you’ll be taught how to draw blood from veins and the best ways to interact with different types of patients. Common courses include equipment disposal, lab safety and possible legal considerations of the practice.
You will be required to balance classroom learning with hands-on training in a recognized clinic or hospital. Successful completion of repeated skin punctures and blood collections may also be necessary to demonstrate proficiency.
The education requirements for phlebotomy are not many, making it a good choice if you need to start working and earn quickly in a medical laboratory or can’t manage to further your education. However, many institutions in West Virginia offer subsidies to ambitious phlebotomists who wish to upgrade their knowledge and skills. You can take advantage of these programs to cross-train in related fields such as cytotechnology, histotechnology or blood banking. Holding multiple certifications increases your chances of getting a good job and higher salaries.
Step 5: Certification and Licensure
Unlike some states in the US, West Virginia does not require you take any state or national level phlebotomy exam to be certified. All you have to do is work hard while still in school and make sure that you gain lots of hands-on experience. The most important areas you need to focus on include the following:
- Ability to identify veins that are viable for obtaining blood sample
- Needle techniques such as introducing a needle into a vein correctly without injuring a patient
- Being familiar with different tools of the trade such as syringes, needles, tourniquets and other articles used in the process of obtaining and storing blood
If you wish to become a licensed clinical laboratory technician (CLP) after completing your phlebotomy training in West Virginia, you will be required to submit copies of your high school diploma and college diploma/degree along with the applicable fees in the form of money order or check to the West Virginia State Department of Health and Human Resources of Laboratory Services.
Step 6: Salary Outlook
Before you start your job search, it is important to find out more about the average phlebotomist salary. Reports released by the BLS indicate that the average salary of a phlebotomist depends on a number of factors such as level of education, experience and location of the job. Novice phlebotomists can earn an average salary of between $25,000 and $29.50 per year while professional phlebotomists can earn up to an average of $60,000 per year.
Step 7: Look for a Phlebotomist Job
As a prospective phlebotomist, you can look for employment at a hospital or a private healthcare clinic. Alternatively, you can seek employment in a clinical laboratory where you’ll screen and test blood with other laboratory technologists and medical professionals.