Whether you’ve been working in a particular field for a long time and are tired of it or know that phlebotomy is the topic you want to study in college, drawing blood is the career you desire. Starting a new, or first, career path isn’t quite as easy as zippering a coat though; you need to put some effort into this desire.
Start in High School
If you are still in high school, don’t feel as though the door to your future career can’t start to crack open. While most high schools do not have courses specifically for phlebotomy, you may be able to find a general science or health care class that at least introduces the basic principles of this field. Speak with your science teachers and guidance counselor to let them know what career you are interested in, and they might have suggestions for extracurricular activities or internships that meet with that interest.
Understand the Discipline
Many people become extremely squeamish when they are around blood, and if you are working in this field, you cannot have that fear. Not only are you going to be expected to draw blood, but you will need to know how to handle it properly. Failure to do so could mean dire consequences for your patients and their health. If you really don’t know how you react to blood, volunteer at a local blood drive to get a sense of what to expect. Find out if any phlebotomists in the area would allow you to shadow them.
Graduate from High School
While some students who go on to become phlebotomists obtain a college degree, that is not true of them all. It’s possible that you will go through the phlebotomy program and not take classes like your friends who are at liberal arts colleges do. However, you do need to graduate from high school, so work on keeping those grades up. Perhaps you dropped out of high school and are looking to get back into the educational domain. Obtaining a GED will allow you to move on to obtain the training for your dream career.
School for Phlebotomy
As you already should recognize, you need to complete a phlebotomy program. Look into specialized schools in the area. You might also find that these types of programs are offered at some of the local colleges. Make sure that the program is accredited, or you could end up with major problems trying to get a job after you graduate. Furthermore, you want to ensure that the program is recognized by the state in which you want to work and that the program meets the personal requirements and goals you have for it as well.
College and Phlebotomy
Since you generally do not need a four-year degree to work in the field of phlebotomy, you might decide that you don’t want to attend the traditional college. However, consider opting for a degree in-conjunction with phlebotomy. You never know what the future can bring and if you will be able to procure a job as soon as you are done with school. Having a back-up plan is a smart decision. Also, if you are fresh out of high school, giving college a chance can help to teach you a lot about yourself and the world.
Certification and Licenses
When you are on the brink of searching for a job in the field, you need to make sure that you have the proper certificates and licenses. The requirements can vary from state to state for licenses. Remember, if you are licensed in one state but plan to practice in another, then you could have to get re-licensed in that other state. As far as the certification goes, the American Society of Clinical Pathologists, American Medical Technologists or the American Association of Medical Personnel can provide you with one, so research the requirements for the institution you’ll be going through.
Gain Field Experience
Somewhere along the way, you should work on gaining field experience. By enrolling in a college program or a certification program, you can likely ask about internship opportunities and the ability to actually get practical work experience in the lab. Generally, employers like to see a combination of book smarts and practical knowledge. If you never read a book about the field, then you are not likely to be well-versed in it. On the other hand, if you have no practical experience, then day-to-day situations could be overwhelming for you to handle and difficult for you to navigate.
You’ve finally decided what it is that you want to do with your life, and you are headed on a path toward phlebotomy. In order to ensure that the road is paved and even, be sure to follow these tips and look for all of the advice you can get.