A career as a phlebotomist offers many benefits without a lot of requirements. Phlebotomists are able to have a career in the growing healthcare field without obtaining significant training or education. Phlebotomists have several options in regards to obtaining formal training. Those hoping to enter into a career as a phlebotomist have a variety of potential employers. Hospitals, clinics and private practices all employ phlebotomists.
Training is Available
While the state of Wisconsin does not require certification, phlebotomists who do have state or national certification are more likely to obtain employment. Wisconsin is home to several training programs that are able to be completed in less than one year. Completion of the training can often be done in a semester. Prior to beginning a training program, an applicant must have either a high school diploma or a GED. Coursework that is offered includes medical terminology, lab skills and communication courses. Practical experiences where students can practice their skills are also part of the curriculum. Safety is a focus of these programs, and students are taught how to collect specimens as safely as possible.
When the training program is completed, the student is eligible to sit for the national certification exam. Sitting for the exam requires that a student have either completed a training program, have a full year of work experience in a donation facility or have completed a program to become a LPN or RN.
A student who obtains a passing score on the certification exam will then be mailed a certificate that is valid for three years. Once a student completes the training and obtains certification, six hours of continuing education are required per year. There are online courses available to help phlebotomists obtain their required six hours annually.
Benefits and Salary
Many sectors of employment are declining, but healthcare continues to expand and offer job opportunities. Phlebotomists often have many options available because they are employed by many types of specialists and clinics. The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the mean annual wage for phlebotomists in Wisconsin as $31, 770 for 2013. Phlebotomists in the lower ten percent of the employment range made slightly less than $25,000. Those in the upper ten percent made over $40,000.
Phlebotomists serve an important role in the healthcare field because they draw the blood that is needed for laboratory tests. They may also draw blood for donations, such as the blood that is collected during a blood drive. Phlebotomists’ schedules often depend on who their choice of employer is. While a phlebotomist in a doctor’s office will likely work the same hours as a doctor, a phlebotomist in a hospital lab may work weekends or nights.
The phlebotomist does have direct interaction with the patients or blood donors. The first part of the phlebotomist’s job is to verify the identity of the person whose specimen is being collected. Phlebotomists may also explain the collection process to help the patient feel at ease. Phlebotomists will often collect several vials of blood from the same patient and are responsible for labeling the collected specimens and making sure they are transported correctly.
Occasionally a person may have a negative reaction to having blood drawn. Someone donating blood may become weak or dizzy. The phlebotomist is responsible for responding to these types of reactions. The phlebotomist must quickly decide if it is safe to continue drawing blood or if the procedure should be stopped.
The Rewards of Choosing Phlebotomy
Phlebotomy offers the opportunity for a rewarding career to those who want to work in the healthcare field without requiring years of education. Phlebotomists are able to deal directly with patients and provide a valuable service to the healthcare team. With a wide range of salaries, phlebotomists have the chance to enter into a profession that is also financially rewarding.