Do you envision yourself in the medical industry performing life-saving duties but are somehow deterred by the time most of its courses entail? While physicians and other healthcare professions require a bachelor’s degree, specialization, and internship, not all would. The industry has many skilled jobs that do not take too long to master. One of them is phlebotomy.
When people go to a lab or clinic to get their blood drawn for testing or a life-saving blood donation, they are usually unaware that the ones performing the task are called phlebotomists. These skilled healthcare practitioners are responsible for safely extracting blood from patients by venipuncture (puncturing the vein) or finger prick.
Often, phlebotomists treat their work as a springboard to venture into other medical fields. Their acquired skills are a good foundation that enables them to take on more significant responsibilities in patient care. In general, phlebotomists play an essential role in diagnostics and healthcare; hence, it requires knowledge and proficiency, which education will provide.
Enrolling In A Phlebotomy Program
To learn phlebotomy via an educational program, whether online or in person, the individual must be 18 years of age and a high school graduate or possess a GED equivalent. In addition, you will submit a personal statement on why you want to become a phlebotomist, as well as character references. Some may ask for a CPR certification on top of the requirements. You can learn and accomplish this task in just a couple of hours online.
A phlebotomy program is usually available in community colleges, vocational schools, and sponsored training facilities within your locality. It takes several months to a year to complete and consists of classroom lectures and practical applications in a clinical setting. Sometimes, those with a biology degree skip the program because they are trained directly by their employer.
Meanwhile, this program is not a bachelor’s degree, which would generally take three to four years of education. However, it provides sufficient foundation and knowledge to become a phlebotomist. This condition is also why phlebotomy can serve as an easy jumpstart for those still trying to figure out their area of specialization in the medical industry.
Pros of being a phlebotomist
- Stability of income
- Historically, the demand for phlebotomists has always stayed the same, which means you can expect to earn a steady income for a long time.
- Stepping stone for a higher medical career
- A phlebotomist is an excellent entry-level position that sets the stage for more extensive career opportunities in the future.
- Low education and training cost
- At a fraction of what one will spend in a medical school, phlebotomists get to have a rewarding career in healthcare without having to pay so much, let alone resort to cumbersome student loans.
- High sense of achievement
- Being an essential part of a life-saving medical team is often more rewarding than the monetary aspect of working as a phlebotomist.
Phlebotomy Training Skills & Aptitude
- good interpersonal skills
- Close attention to details
- light-handed dexterity
- ability to handle blood
- excellent chair-side/ bedside manner
Choosing A Phlebotomy Program
You can pick from many options that can be easily accessible from your location or take it online. Although a few states remain particular to a school’s accreditation, it would likely be best to go for a phlebotomy program accredited by the NAACLS or National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences. So far, it has given its nod to around 60 phlebotomy programs in the US, which you can look at on the NAACLS website.
Phlebotomy Curriculum Sample
- Introduction to phlebotomy
- Historical perspective of phlebotomy
- Blood-borne pathogens and infection control
- handle human blood, plasma, and other bodily fluids with appropriate care
- Legal issues in healthcare
- safeguards against negligence and malpractice, discuss patient rights
- Basic human anatomy and Physiology
- general information on the heart, digestive system, pulmonary system, etc.
- Other major body systems
- available information on the circulatory system, lymphatic system, etc.
- General information on blood composition and blood cells
- understand the blood-clotting ability and blood disorders
- Professionalism and ethics
- importance of good work habits and attitude
- Quality control guidelines
- ensure the safety of blood extractions and integrity of specimens
- Medical terminology
- learn alphabetical jargon often encountered in the medical environment
- Phlebotomy fundamentals
- skills necessary to become a successful phlebotomist
- Phlebotomy equipment and supplies
- use of needles/ cannula during blood draws and related situations
- Phlebotomy procedures
- Observe the standard way of conducting a blood extraction on a patient
- render practicum or on-the-job training in a live setting
This subject aims to teach theoretical and practical knowledge in vein anatomy and how to select the most suitable site for blood extraction. It will also teach how to assess the right veins for venipuncture, use equipment, observe safety standards, explain the draw order, and identify indications and contra-indications to properly carry out the blood collection procedure. Students can practice with the help of a simulation arm and actual patients later on.
Another aspect critical in safe phlebotomy is the order of draw, which the student will spend considerable time mastering. The phlebotomist must follow the correct sequence when drawing blood. Doing so will prevent cross-contamination of specimens.
After Completion Of Phlebotomy Education and Training
Once you have completed your course, you can move on to certification, which is preferred, by taking an exam. It becomes necessary if you plan to look for a job in California, Nevada, Washington, and Louisiana. These states typically require phlebotomists to be certified in their profession. You can secure this certification from established agencies such as American Medical Technologists and The National Center for Competency Testing, to name a few. Note that your certificate will usually be valid for two years, so you must renew it every time it expires.
Phlebotomy Education Cost
Phlebotomy programs have no standard tuition or cost, but most of them are relatively affordable. They may range between 700 dollars and 3000 dollars depending on the program and training duration. Getting certified for your course will be an additional payment of 150 dollars, more or less. The same charge also applies to a phlebotomy license.