Training for a career in phlebotomy typically takes about 4-8 months, depending on the training institution you choose, and if you decide to go after an official certification as well – that can take another month.
While there are plenty of opportunities to find a center for training near you (or even training programs online), there is something to be said for phlebotomy on the job training, and how it can jump start your career, or work as a great stepping stone to advance you in the field of medicine.
Because phlebotomy is such an in-demand career at the moment, hospitals, clinics, and other busy medical institutions are scrambling a bit to find quality phlebotomists to fulfill the needs of patients who require blood being drawn. It’s not always convenient or practical to consistently wait for job applications to roll in as the next round of phlebotomy trainees begin to look for jobs, and it will always be easier to hire individuals willing to learn the procedures and protocols of their specific medical facility, without having to ‘re-train’ them, so to speak.
Plus, when medical facilities do hire phlebotomists that have completed their training either online or in a classroom setting, they still have to train them for that facility in particular. This includes things like specific safety procedures, overall protocol, where things are kept, etc. While most things will always have some similarities to them, each hospital or clinic will likely do some things just a little bit differently, and a newly-hired phlebotomist or phlebotomy tech will likely be under supervision for several months before being able to work alone.
One solution many medical facilities are looking toward to help with this issue of needed phlebotomists is to offer on the job training that can prepare up and coming phlebotomists with the right resources, techniques, and skills to perform their job at a level fit for that particular facility.
Keep in mind that to partake in on the job training for a phlebotomist, you have to work in a state that does not require previous phlebotomy training to be hired. You may be even more of an asset to the medical center you get hired at if you have any prior experience in the medical field. You can build on the skills you’ve already learned, and apply them to phlebotomy.
Typically, there are two routes that go with phlebotomy career training: Either you start on the job training with prior experience in the medical field, or with no previous experience in the medical field.
Training with Prior Medical Experience
If you have prior medical experience, or better yet, if you’re currently in a position within the medical field, transitioning to phlebotomy could be a very easy move for you, especially when it comes to training on the job. If you’re interested in making the move to a career in phlebotomy, and you’re already working in a medical facility, the best thing you can do is talk to your on-staff human resources manager.
Human resources will be able to tell you about any possible openings in the phlebotomy department. From there, you can talk to the head of that department if there’s an opening available, and discuss why you would like to be a part of the phlebotomy team. Already working in the facility is a great way to get hired, even in a different department, because you’ve developed connections and have experience with the facility itself, no matter how big or small it may be. Most supervisors and managers will take that into consideration when they think about hiring someone to be a part of their team.
If you already have experience in the medical field, but would like to make a move to a different hospital, clinic, etc., building your resume up is the best thing you can do. Highlight your experience in medicine, and be sure to list all the skills you already have from working in a medical facility, even if you might think they wouldn’t necessarily benefit you as a phlebotomist.
Many hospitals, clinics, and even private practices will take a look at any past medical experience and consider it a positive attribute to have when it comes to hiring someone new for their team. Even if you’ve never done anything in the field of phlebotomy before, having an overall knowledge of medical terminology, how proper protocol and procedures work, lab safety rules, etc., can be a huge bonus. Plus, it should make it easier to train on the job when you have the basics already in place.
If the hiring manager for phlebotomy knows you have your bases covered as far as general medicine, they’ll likely be extremely interested in hiring you for on the job training, since it’s likely you’ll be able to learn quicker and more efficiently than someone with no previous knowledge or training. Following through with any orientations and procedures necessary will be the most important thing you can do once hired. It’s also important to be adaptable to new surroundings and situations, and not let your previous medical experience keep you from expanding and learning new things.
No Prior Medical Experience
As stated above, not all states allow on the job training to become a phlebotomist. Before you look into it, make sure your state isn’t one that requires prior training in a classroom or online setting, or even phlebotomy certification.
If you do live in an area that allows career training, the first thing to consider is your resume. Without any prior medical experience, showcasing your skills, your ability to learn quickly and follow orders effectively can be one of your best assets, and you should showcase that as much as possible on a resume.
It’s also important that you are upfront on your resume or specific application that you would prefer on the job training. Some hospitals, clinics, etc. may be looking for just the right person to train, while others may not be interested in hiring someone with no experience. Putting exactly what you’re looking for, along with your eagerness to learn on your application will leave no confusion for anyone involved, and you can get started on the right foot if you’re hired.
Once you get hired for the job, the medical facility you’re working at will likely have some form of their own training to provide you. Usually, this comes in the form of things like orientations. You can expect to go through several orientation processes when you get started, each for various subjects. These can include safety, lab procedures, patient relationships, etc.
Some medical facilities will offer in-house training programs, so you’ll essentially be going through their specific version of schooling for the phlebotomy job you’ll be doing on a daily basis. These training classes will likely also include clinical practice, where you will essentially shadow a current phlebotomist on staff, before beginning to take blood yourself under supervision.
Through informative sessions, training courses, and possible test work to ensure you’re understanding training procedures, you could be working side by side with a phlebotomist very quickly, and eventually, on your own. By getting the training you need right in the facility you’re working in, you’re essentially getting rid of the ‘middle man’ that can come with outsourced training courses and certification processes.
Getting Phlebotomy on the Job Training
While doing any job well takes time, and the proper training procedures need to be followed, there is usually more than one way to get through the initial ‘learning’ process, and phlebotomy is a perfect example of that. It can be a risk, certainly, to ask for on the job training in favor of going through a separate certification course, but it can be a rewarding experience, too.
Whether you already have experience in the medical field (even in a different area), or no prior experience, phlebotomy can be a great career choice. You can use it as either a standalone career, or use it as a stepping stone in your medical career to continue advancing onward and upward. Regardless of your future goals, becoming a phlebotomist can be a great jumping off point to grow.
Phlebotomy on the job training is a great idea for anyone looking to dive in strong and really get their career moving as a phlebotomist. If you think you might be interested in a phlebotomy career, and are interested in possible on the job training, make sure your state is one that allows no prior experience, and contact your local hospitals and clinics for possible openings as a member of their team.