They may take your blood, but they're not vampires—they're phlebotomists. A phlebotomist draws blood from patients and prepares it for tests, transfusions, or donations. If you want to work with a wide variety of people in a hospital or clinical laboratory setting, then learning how to become a phlebotomist may be a wise career step for you.
To become a phlebotomist, you must be comfortable being around blood and working with needles. You'll also need to have compassion and excellent hand-eye coordination. But what else will it take and how long does it take to become a phlebotomist? Learn how to become a phlebotomist by following the guide and steps below.
Phlebotomists, or phlebotomy technicians, can help many people at once through their work drawing blood at hospitals and other healthcare sites. In addition to drawing blood, phlebotomists perform blood transfusions, conduct research, and assist with blood donations. They also measure and record blood pressure, temperature, and oxygen.
The journey to becoming a phlebotomist will vary depending on person to person. The whole process can take as little as a year or sometimes even less.
State requirements can play a role in the amount of time it will take to complete schooling and certifications. A vocational school's curriculum can take less time than a community college.
Additionally, while it is not required to be nationally accredited, many employers will want you to be. There are many different certifications to choose from and certificates can add on more time. However, it is possible to begin working in as little as one year.
Receiving a high school diploma is the first step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. Some high schools may offer phlebotomy courses, and in this case, you may forgo a phlebotomy program after high school. However, in most cases, you must enroll in a program.
After high school, you will need to enroll in a phlebotomy program. You can enroll in these programs at a few different places, including community colleges. The program will usually take a year to complete and you can expect classroom training, featuring courses such as human anatomy, medical terminology, and physiology.
This will also include clinical training that covers blood drawing procedures. To partake in clinical training at a hospital or medical establishment, you will need proof of high school graduation, updated immunization records, and have paid for tuition.
This program will also entail how to handle lab equipment properly, clean up spills to prevent infections, and can even include CPR training. Upon graduation of this program, you will receive a certificate.
The next step toward becoming a registered phlebotomist is getting certified. Typically, employers will require that you have a phlebotomy certificate. Successful completion of a certification exam is usually required to get certified, although this can vary depending on the certification. A few credentials include:
Hospitals, clinics, laboratories, and blood donation institutions are examples of places where you can seek employment following certification. If you work as a phlebotomist who collects blood donations, then expect to travel to set up mobile donation centers at different sites.
Additionally, if you work in a hospital, you may be required to work odd hours, including nights, weekends, and holidays. Once practicing as a full-time phlebotomist, you will typically work 40 hours a week in a hospital and lab setting.
To maintain in good standing as a phlebotomist, you will need to renew your certifications as required. You may also be required to pay an annual fee to stay up to date with your certificates. It's best to check with your specific organization for yearly requirements.
If you are passionate about helping people, then you should become a phlebotomist in 2020. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, phlebotomist careers are expected to grow by 17 percent from 2019 to 2029. This is much faster than other occupations. Moreover, the medical field is continuously recruiting exceptional phlebotomists.