Becoming a phlebotomist, or a technician can be an extremely rewarding career for new entrants. It doesn’t require years of intense schooling or any prior experience or medical knowledge.
While many doctors, nurses, etc. do start out as phlebotomists, there are also talented technicians who went on to obtain their national phlebotomy certification. They’re enjoying a rewarding career where they can help others and have new opportunities to pursue.
If you’re interested in job opportunities in phlebotomy or are curious about a career, it’s important to understand the steps that you’ll have to go through to earn your certification.
While it’s a high-demand career, and years of schooling aren’t required, there is still time and money that will need to be invested. The more you know before beginning your journey, the more prepared you will feel from the outset.
Why Start a New Career In Phlebotomy?
It is an extremely popular career, and medical facilities all over the country are scrambling to find excellent health care professionals to add to their teams. For this reason, there is a fairly good chance you’ll get a job very quickly after completing your training.
Why is there such a demand for good phlebotomists? Technology is ever-changing, and new medical advancements are occurring all the time. Because of lab technology, and new equipment and instruments, medical laboratory testing has become more prominent than ever. Because of this, the need for this skill is greater than ever, too.
From there, the opportunities for growth are endless, depending on how much you’d like to further your education, and if you want to continue with a career in the medical field.
How to Get Started with Phlebotomy Certification
It is a fast-paced career, and because it doesn’t require years of training, you’ll be hitting the ground running when it comes to the courses needed for certification. First and foremost, once you’ve decided on a career in phlebotomy, you need to find an accredited phlebotomy training program. Typically, this will be one of the easiest things to do as you start on your new career path.
Since medical facilities, labs, hospitals, etc., are desperately searching for quality professionals all the time, training centers have become exceedingly popular. A quick search online should lead you to several local certification locations, and you can choose your program site from there.
Not sure where to get started? Check out your local hospitals, community colleges, etc., to inquire about their possible offerings for phlebotomy courses. Sometimes, locations like these will even offer short-term programs, or training seminars that can get you a technical certificate.
A good tip when you’re getting started is to look for a certification program that offers clinical hours. This will give you hands-on experience throughout your training that is invaluable and will offer so much more comfort and peace of mind when you’re actually on the job.
Most phlebotomy certification programs cost anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000, depending on factors like clinical experience, etc. While it can sometimes be a minor inconvenience to have to pay tuition and course fees of any kind, consider how much less these certification programs are than a typical college degree.
For a small amount, you can start off in a lucrative career with endless opportunities for growth – there aren’t many college degrees that can immediately offer that opportunity!
What Are the Educational Requirements for Phlebotomists?
Unlike many other jobs in the medical field, becoming a phlebotomy technician doesn’t require any prior college education. You simply have to be at least 18 years of age and have a high school diploma, or equivalent GED. Aside from that, it’s generally up to you, and how far you might want to further your career when it comes to continuing education. To become a phlebotomist, there are three levels of education:
This includes taking the necessary certification course, usually lasting for 6-8 months. These courses can be taken in person, or even online. But as suggested above, look for programs that offer clinical hands-on experience.
Associate’s Degree & Bachelor’s Degree
Either of these degrees will require you to take some college courses. Most Associate’s degrees can be obtained from a two-year school or taking courses online. Bachelor’s degrees often take up to four years of coursework. However, the degree you reach for will likely be a direct reflection of how far you want to advance your career, especially in the medical field, as opportunities arise.
With an Associate’s degree, you can advance from a phlebotomy technician to something like a medical assistant, or lab tech. If you choose to go farther and obtain a Bachelor’s degree, you could advance toward a more supervisory role in this field.
Consider where you may want to end up as you start your career. If you’re just taking the job as an entry-level position, and considering it to be more of a temporary form of employment, rather than a career, you might not need to worry about additional education. But, if you’d like to move forward in the medical field, or in another field entirely, there’s a good chance that additional collegiate-level schooling will need to be done.
While your grades in school don’t necessarily factor into certification training, it can help if you excelled in, or have an interest in subjects like biology, or chemistry, as they will certainly be factors in the training you’ll have to go through.
What Is Phlebotomy Certification Training?
When you begin your training to become a phlebotomist, the program may be different depending on where you’ve selected to go. However, there are a few common practices involved in just about every form of phlebotomy training, and you can expect the following as you go throughout the course:
The programs themselves are usually short-term training practices. Most will last between 8 months and a year, though some can be as short as four months.
Training programs will cover the most basic skills needed, including how to draw blood, and different techniques you can use to make it easier for you, and more comfortable for patients.
You will be expected to learn about proper equipment and the names and uses of different medical tools.
All training programs will cover basic safety procedures, and lab rules you’ll need to follow. While each hospital, lab, etc. may have their own specific set of rules, there are generalities to follow no matter where you may go.
You will also be required to know a bit of legal terminology and rules that go along with the safety procedures.
Included in the coursework should be on-site training at a hospital, clinic, etc., where you can practice under supervision, and get real, hands-on experience.
Many phlebotomy training programs will also prepare you for additional medical procedures and provide you with skills you may need from time to time, including CPR training, general first aid, as well as anatomy and physiology knowledge.
Starting a New Career in Phlebotomy
With the phlebotomy industry growing at a rapid pace, well-paid job opportunities will likely come very easily for you after you’ve finished your training. However, there are plenty of opportunities to get started right away. Hospitals, clinics, and even organizations like the Red Cross are always looking for phlebotomy volunteers. It’s a great way to your feet wet in the field, and improve your phlebotomy resume.
Many hospitals also offer internships, which can lead to a full-paying job after a specific period. Internships can be a great way to learn the ins and outs of a specific hospital, and the particular procedures they follow before actually officially getting on the payroll. It gives you an advantage in taking a job there because you’re bound to do the work well after getting unpaid training.
Once you get started as a phlebotomy technician, the opportunities for growth are truly endless, and it’s up to you where you’d like to go with your career.
Your experience begins in the certification classroom, as you’ll get to practice on classmates, instructors, etc. Whether you choose to do volunteer work or start an internship, there are plenty of opportunities to get additional hands-on experience before even entering the career field. But, once you do, that’s where your opportunities begin.
What you’d like to do with your certification, in the long run, will usually depend on why you wanted to become a phlebotomist in the first place. Some people take the job for what it is; a high-demand position that pays well offers benefits and is always in need.
As far as an entry-level position, becoming a phlebotomist has countless benefits over other entry-level office jobs, retail work, etc. So, many people are quick to jump on board and are happy to be a phlebotomy technician for as long as they can, turning it into its own career.
Others look at becoming a phlebotomy technician as a stepping stone into the medical field.
Once you complete phlebotomy training, you can work in hospitals, labs, or even private practices. But, that is only the very tip of the iceberg when it comes to an impressive career in the medical field. Being a phlebotomist means you have so many opportunities for growth, depending on your continued education, and your desire to move forward.
You may start by looking into higher-paying phlebotomy positions, or move up in ‘rank,’ which can mean becoming a supervisor, or phlebotomy specialist. It’s easy to stay in the field of phlebotomy and still grow in your career.
If you’re looking for even further advancement, many people choose to continue their education and get into the nursing field or even study to become a physician while they’re working as a phlebotomist. Obviously, this requires some time and a lot of dedication, but it’s a great way to continuously have hands-on experience in the medical field while progressing forward.
What Is National Phlebotomy Certification?
Becoming a phlebotomist can be an excellent decision that can kick off a career as successful and expansive as you can dream. Whether you’re getting into the field as a stepping stone for another career or looking into making medicine your life’s work, there is no better place to start.
Getting started with the certification process is very easy, and you’re likely to find a program nearby, no matter where you are. For just a small amount of tuition, and less than a year of training, you can become a highly-qualified phlebotomist, and begin a career where you’re not only helping yourself but helping other people on a daily basis.
The technological advances in the medical field have made the need for phlebotomists more prominent than ever, and you could be a part of the next revolution of medical technologies by working in a hospital or laboratory, taking blood samples and delivering them to help discover cures for illnesses, new developments, etc.
If you’re at all interested in a career in phlebotomy, or want to know what kind of coursework is locally offered in your area, contact your nearest area hospital or clinic – they’ll likely be more than happy to get you the information you’re looking for, so you can get started on your phlebotomy certification immediately.
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