Over the past several years, phlebotomy has become a booming field in the healthcare industry. While people have always needed blood drawn for various reasons, technological advancements have made it a more demanding field than ever. Thanks to these advancements, there is a nationwide shortage of phlebotomists. It might seem strange to think about in a time where people seem to be consistently looking for jobs.
The problem rests in the fact that many people don’t realize that phlebotomy is an entry-level position. With some proper training and schooling, just about anyone can become a certified phlebotomist. Because of the huge need for qualified individuals at the moment, taking the time to put in the training can be well worth it.
The job demand for phlebotomists has made it easier than ever to get that required training. Many hospitals and clinics have even started programs that will ‘hire in’ quickly after certification. So, what does this shortage of phlebotomists really mean for you?
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Is There a Job Demand for Phlebotomists?
Simply put, yes! There are actually quite a few healthcare positions in high demand today. But, as an entry level position, phlebotomy is near the top of the shortage in qualified workers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that by 2024, there will be a need for about 28,000 more phlebotomists in the country.
This job demand is due to a variety of different things. From advancements in technology to the ‘baby boomer’ generation needing more medical care, and people simply taking better care of their overall health, more individuals are getting blood drawn than ever before.
What to Expect as a Phlebotomist
Phlebotomists are required to practice venipuncture, and know a variety of different blood drawing techniques. They work with a wide variety of different people everyday. That includes patients, doctors and nurses, and lab technicians. It’s a position that requires you to be on your feet for hours at a time, know basic lab and safety procedures, and be extremely organized and professional.
Many people use phlebotomy as a stepping stone into a deeper medical career. Because it’s an entry-level job, some lab techs, nurses, and even doctors have started out as phlebotomists.
Training and Required Education
Most phlebotomy courses take a matter of months. Typically, within about eight months, you can complete your training and enter the job field. You can even find online courses for free. Training consists of both classroom and hands-on settings. In the classroom setting, you’ll study different aspects of the body’s anatomy and its systems, including:
- Respiratory system
- Circulatory system
- Nervous system
- Digestive system
Knowing as much as you can about the human body will help you immensely when you enter the job field. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that phlebotomy only requires you to draw blood without knowledge of anything else. Whether you use this career as a jumping off point into medicine or not, knowing as much as you can about the overall well being of the human body is extremely important.
In the classroom setting, you’ll also learn about lab procedures and standard safety procedures. While each hospital or clinic will be slightly different in their rules, there are always basic standard protocols to follow.
Training programs also require students to perform a certain number of venipunctures in order to complete the course. This number typically falls somewhere in the hundreds, to ensure with absolute certainty that everyone who completes a training course is completely comfortable drawing blood, and can do it well.
Qualifications & Certification
Once you’ve completed a training course, you’ll have the opportunity to become a certified phlebotomist. Some states actually require certification in order for you to get hired. However, even if your state doesn’t yet require it, becoming certified will help you stay ahead of your career competition. There may be a shortage of phlebotomists, but as more and more people begin to train, those who go the extra mile with certification are more likely to get hired first.
You may be surprised to discover that certification only takes a few weeks of extra training. Not only will it help you to feel even more comfortable with what you do, but it’s a great starting point into further medical/health education.
Where to Work as a Phlebotomist
The biggest job demand for phlebotomists comes from hospitals, clinics, and even private practices. Some of these locations actually offer specialized training programs and certification. Others even offer internships, so you can begin your work experience during your training. Once you’ve completed it, you’re more likely to get hired, since you have experience with a specific location. Medical facilities are seriously looking for quality phlebotomists, so be sure to look at the offerings from your local hospitals and more when considering a career.
Because there is such a high demand in this field, many people are also choosing to become ‘freelance’ phlebotomists. This allows you to work your own hours, but it also requires you to market yourself. Many freelancers or independent phlebotomists will work at different locations everyday. If you want to start a career in phlebotomy, but aren’t ready to commit to a full-time hospital schedule yet, this could be a great way to go.
Red Cross blood drives, nursing homes, prisons, or even smaller private practices often hire out to independent phlebotomists, based on their everyday needs. If you live in an area that may not have many phlebotomists to fill these specific duties, you could be in great shape when it comes to getting a job quickly.
A Career in High Demand
Becoming a phlebotomist has a number of benefits. Since there is a shortage of phlebotomists right now, there has never been a better time to get into the field. Whether you’re simply looking for an entry level position, or a lifelong career in medicine, phlebotomy is a great place to start. Start your training and gain on-the-job experience!