Phlebotomy: How to Become a Phlebotomist
Learn how to become a phlebotomist. Research the education and career requirements, licensure and experience required for starting a career as a phlebotomist.
Do I Want to Be a Phlebotomist?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), phlebotomists are specialized medical laboratory technicians who collect blood samples from patients. Phlebotomists follow physician's orders to draw blood from patients and ensure that all needles are sterile and supplies are well stocked. Additional duties include maintaining proper documentation, processing incoming orders and creating reports. Protective measures must be taken to prevent the spread of infection. Phlebotomists who work in settings that are open around the clock may be scheduled during evenings, weekends or holidays.
While a high school diploma is the minimum educational requirement, vocational training may be beneficial. Employers will also prefer applicants who have earned certification in the field. The table below includes the requirements to become a phlebotomist.
|Degree Level||High school diploma* or postsecondary education program**|
|Certification||Certification is preferred and available through multiple organizations*|
|Experience||In order to earn certification, prospective phlebotomists must either have some experience in the field or an education in phlebotomy**|
|Key Skills||Phlebotomists must have the manual dexterity to draw blood and be able to keep records organized*|
Sources: *CareerBuilder.com (August 2012); **American Medical Technologists
Step 1: Earn a High School Diploma
The minimum educational requirement for prospective phlebotomists is a high school diploma. While in school, students can prepare for a career in this field by taking several different science classes. It will also be beneficial for students to begin developing work skills, including creating detailed reports and learning to multi-task.
Step 2: Gain Training in the Field
Completing a postsecondary education program is not required for employment in the field; however, obtaining one will prepare you for certification and help with job opportunities. Certification may be strongly preferred by employers. A phlebotomy certificate program will cover topics in phlebotomy techniques, first aid and CPR, phlebotomy concepts and allied health.
While those who enroll in a certificate program will have the opportunity to participate in an internship, others may receive phlebotomy training in a medical setting. Some formal training will be required for certification and employment. Both an internship and training program will take place in a medical setting and provide individuals with the knowledge and skills necessary to begin working in the field.
Step 3: Pursue Certification
Phlebotomy certification is available through a number of organizations, including the American Society of Clinical Pathology (ASCP), American Society for Phlebotomy Technicians (ASPT) and American Medical Technologist (AMT). All organizations require that applicants have a high school diploma and completed training in the field, either through an educational program or work experience. Phlebotomists will also need to pass a certification exam that will ensure they understand phlebotomy techniques and procedures, medical terminology, infection control, safety measures and specimen collection.
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