Those looking to enter the medical field might want to learn how to become a phlebotomist. This type of person collects blood samples for insurance and medical reasons. Often called phlebotomy technicians, a phlebotomist will collect samples needed for diagnosis, care, treatment, and health.
If you’re interested in becoming a phlebotomist, understanding the job duties is a good first step. Let’s look at what a phlebotomist does and how to become a phlebotomist.
Job Duties of a Phlebotomist
A phlebotomist is an entry-level position in the medical field. If you go into this career, you will likely work in an assisted living facility, private medical practice, hospital, or laboratory. It’s also common to find phlebotomists at plasma centers.
This type of career will include many job duties including:
- Helping patients understand the process of drawing blood
- Comforting patients with anxiety about a blood draw
- Drawing blood from patients for diagnosis and other reasons
- Assisting patients that have an adverse reaction after a blood draw
- Protecting the paperwork involved with the blood draw
- Managing the chain of possession for samples collected
- Properly labeling the samples taken
- Performing transfusions
These job duties are very common for a phlebotomist. You will likely work with doctors, nurses, and other medical technicians as you complete your job duties.
How To Become a Phlebotomist in 4 Steps
Step #1 – Complete High School
You will need to complete high school or get your GED to become a phlebotomist. This is the first step towards entering this career.
Step #2 – Complete an Approved Phlebotomy Training Program
You will need to find a phlebotomy training program and complete it. These programs are often offered at community colleges. You can complete a certification, diploma, or even an associate degree program.
Step #3 – Become Certified
After completing a training program, you will need to seek certification from the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP), the National Phlebotomy Association (NPA), the American Medical Technologists (AMT), or another certification organization.
With a certification, you will have a better chance of landing a job. The time to become certified will vary, depending on the type of certification you gain. Often, you can get your certification by passing the exam and it will show up in about two weeks.
There are several certifications available. The most common include:
- Registered Phlebotomy Technician – You can get this certificate from the American Medical Technologists. You will need to complete a phlebotomy program with 120 hours of coursework and 1,040 hours of on-the-job training. To earn this certification, you will need to complete 50 successful vein punctures and 10 capillary punctures.
- Phlebotomy Technician – This certification comes from the American Society for Clinical Pathology. You will need a high school diploma and you will need either one year of experience on the job or the completion of a phlebotomy program. After passing the certification exam, you can earn this certification.
- Certified Phlebotomy Technician – You can earn this certification from the National Health Career Association. It requires you to pass a 100-question certification exam.
All three of these certifications can help you land a job as a phlebotomist.
Step #4 – Remain Current
You will likely need to complete continuing education and stay up-to-date as a phlebotomist. This may be necessary to keep your certification
Frequently Asked Questions About Phlebotomists
How much can I make working as a phlebotomist?
The average hourly pay for a phlebotomist, according to Indeed.com is $18.38. With more experience, you can earn over $20 per hour. Some of the top employers will pay a little bit more, as well.
The amount you earn will depend on where you work. Chicago, New York, and San Antonio all pay hourly wages higher than the national average. You can also earn more with a specialty in Genetics & Genomics.
What type of benefits does a phlebotomist receive?
Your benefits will depend on your employer, but commonly, you will get health insurance, dental insurance, childcare, and even tuition reimbursement. Some employers will offer a flexible schedule and may also offer some type of referral program, too.
How long will it take me to become a phlebotomist?
You will likely need to complete a training program that will last from four months to 18 months. It’s common to spend three months to a year completing your practicum training hours. An additional 20 to 40 hours of coursework will be necessary for certification, as well.
How long is a phlebotomy certification good for?
The length of time certification will last depends on the certification you get. Most are good for two or three years before you will need to renew your certification.
Can I land a job with just a phlebotomy certificate?
If you live in the right state, you may only need a certification to get a job. However, some states require a license to work as a phlebotomist. Check with your state’s requirements before you choose the program for your needs.
The four states with the most stringent requirements are California, Louisiana, Nevada, and Washington. In California, you will need to get a phlebotomy certificate and a license, which has three different levels of expertise. However, in Nevada, you will need a medical laboratory personnel licensing certificate.
What is the career outlook for phlebotomists?
This career is in demand and expected to grow quite a bit over the next ten years. It’s expected to grow by about 17%, which is more than triple that of the average of all occupations.
There are many careers in the medical field, but most require extensive schooling. If you want to enter a career that only requires a short training program and certification, you might want to learn how to become a phlebotomist.
This type of career is an entry-level option you can enjoy as you work towards a more advanced career. Many nurses, medical assistants, and other medical workers started as phlebotomists. If you want to start your career in the medical field, this is a good option for an entry-level career.