How To Become a Phlebotomist

Have you had thoughts about making a change in your career by learning how to become a phlebotomist? Have you still postponed taking the steps towards that change?

Although it can feel overwhelming, transitioning into a phlebotomy career can be extremely rewarding. It can also be streamlined and quick! If you had taken the step just a short three and a half months ago, you could be standing here today as a trained phlebotomist.

The medical field is made up of many exciting careers requiring a range of skills and varying degrees of patient interaction. Phlebotomy is an essential area of medicine that requires scientific know-how, technical aptitude, and good interpersonal skills.

In this article, we define phlebotomy, explain how to become a phlebotomist, how much it costs, and how long it takes to become a phlebotomist, and discuss job prospects and salary expectations for phlebotomists.

Who Is a Phlebotomist?

First and foremost, it’s important to define the essential roles and responsibilities of a phlebotomist so that you can fully understand if this career choice is a good fit for you.

A phlebotomist is a vital member of a medical team, as they are the ones that draw blood from patients for medical analysis, donation, research, or transfusion.

Because people are generally uncomfortable with getting their blood taken, it’s a phlebotomist’s responsibility to make patients feel comfortable, and clearly communicate the collection process.

Furthermore, because of the nature of phlebotomy, phlebotomists need to be familiar with all policies and safety procedures in order to limit a patient’s risk of infection.

How To Become a Phlebotomist

These steps will guide you on how to become a phlebotomist:

  • 1. Graduate high school or get a GED

The first step on how to become a phlebotomist is to have at minimum a high school diploma or GED certificate and be at least 18 years old. A high school diploma generally takes four years of study. Most people preparing to take a GED exam prepare for about three months.

  • 2. Complete a phlebotomy training program

The second step on how to become a phlebotomist is to complete a training program. Research and choose the phlebotomy training program that suits your budget and schedule, enroll and successfully complete all coursework and practical training.

You may choose a certificate, diploma, or Associate Degree program in Phlebotomy from many different schools and hospitals. Phlebotomy training courses range from about four months to a year.

  • 3. Get certified by a recognized body

The next step on how to become a phlebotomist is to get certified. Once your training is complete, you can seek certification from a nationally recognized certification organization like the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP), or the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).

Other certification organizations are the National Phlebotomy Association (NPA), the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT), the American Medical Technologists (AMT), and the American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians (ASPT).

Becoming certified increases your opportunities for being hired, shows your commitment to your field and connects you to a network of other professionals who can assist you in your new career. The time it takes to become certified varies.

Once you have studied for, taken, and successfully passed the certification examination, you should receive your official certification in about two weeks.

  • 4. Apply for positions and get a job

The next step on how to become a phlebotomist is to apply for phlebotomist positions. After completing your coursework and practical training and in possession of professional certification, you are now ready to enter the profession.

To search for a position, take advantage of employment resources your school offers, online job search sites, your personal and school networks, and professional organizations and certifying bodies to locate the position you want. There is no average for how long it takes to get hired.

  • 5. Stay current as your industry changes

The last step on how to become a phlebotomist is to stay up to date with the developments in phlebotomy. While working as a phlebotomist, continue to read about advancements in the field, network with other medical professionals, join professional organizations and keep your certifications up to date. As in any profession, this step is ongoing.

How Much Do Phlebotomists Make

Another reason people won to know how to become a phlebotomist is the salary. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the median average range for phlebotomists was $37,710 as of May 2021. This means that 50 percent of phlebotomists made more than this amount, and 50 percent made less.

The BLS also states that employment in this field should have increased by 25 percent by 2026, with particularly good prospects for those who hold certification from a recognized professional association.

How Long Does It Take To Become a Phlebotomist?

When finding out how to become a phlebotomist one should consider the duration it will take. The good news is that some phlebotomy programs are designed to work with your busy schedule. Similar to most other Goodwin College healthcare programs, Goodwin College’s Certificate in Phlebotomy and Laboratory Services is highly flexible and convenient for students.

Goodwin’s Phlebotomy program takes only one semester to complete – that’s approximately only 15 weeks. It can also be completed at an accelerated, 7.5-week pace.

How Much Does It Cost To Become a Phlebotomist?

The most important point on how to become a phlebotomist is how much it costs. Costs associated with becoming a phlebotomist vary from school to school and state to state.

Accredited online training programs may cost as little as $300 or as much as $700-$800. In-person classroom phlebotomy training costs anywhere from about $700 to $1,400 or more.

Some employers, such as hospitals and the Red Cross, offer training to their employees at little or no cost. Initial phlebotomy certification ranges from about $80 to $150, with certification renewal charges varying. There will also be textbooks and other training materials to buy, so remember to include those costs when you are budgeting for your phlebotomy education.

Where Can a Phlebotomist Work

Since their work is versatile, phlebotomists are employed in a variety of places. Here are some examples of the typical health care settings where you can work as a phlebotomist:

  • Hospitals

A lot of phlebotomists work in hospital settings. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 37% of phlebotomists are hired by the state, local, and private hospitals. In a hospital environment, phlebotomists are usually assigned to draw blood samples from patients, properly label the samples, and transport the samples to the laboratory for testing.

As a phlebotomist, you will interact with a wide spectrum of patients who need to have their blood drawn for diverse reasons, ranging from wellness checkups to screening tests for diseases. No matter what they’re being tested for, many people tend to feel anxious about having blood work done.

That’s why part of your responsibility is to calm the nerves of your patients and guide them throughout the process.

One of the benefits of working in a hospital as a phlebotomist is that you can collaborate with different types of healthcare professionals. Whether you consider your job as a phlebotomist technician as a stepping stone to another medical position or you plan to explore other roles in the phlebotomy field, there are important things you can learn from other professionals.

By getting to know your colleagues, you can learn about their role in the hospital, their daily work routines, and their professional journey in the healthcare world.

  • Medical and Diagnostic Labs

Around 33% of phlebotomists in the US work in medical and diagnostic laboratories. Patients usually go to these laboratories if they just need a blood test and don’t require other medical care.

Phlebotomists who work in laboratories commonly draw blood from a lot of patients and process a lot of blood samples during a typical workday.

Here is the main reason why: Lab appointments are fast since they don’t usually involve as many detailed questions as a typical checkup in the hospital. The results of the lab tests, which phlebotomists help to facilitate, may either be picked up by the patients or sent directly to the patients’ doctors.

One advantage that lab phlebotomists have is that they get enough opportunities to actively practice and hone their blood drawing skills.

  • Doctor’s Offices

Some doctors with private practice offices hire on-site phlebotomists for the convenience of their patients.

When you work at a physician’s office as a phlebotomist, the type of patients you will commonly encounter depends on the doctor’s specialty. You may have to face unique challenges based on the medical branch you are involved in. For instance, if you work in a pediatrician’s office, you will regularly need to calm down young patients before and after you draw their blood samples.

In general, phlebotomists who are employed in doctors’ offices enjoy a more relaxed, casual pace than their counterparts who work in fast-paced, busy laboratories.

  • Outpatient Care Centers

There are outpatient care centers that recruit their own in-house phlebotomists. Ambulatory centers such as dialysis clinics, free health clinics, ambulatory surgical centers, free health clinics, and hospital outpatient departments provide health care on an outpatient basis.

Phlebotomists who practice in outpatient centers cater to patients who require blood work in relation to their medical treatment. Because of the roving nature of their work, they have the chance to meet people from all walks of life.

  • Mobile Phlebotomists

Mobile phlebotomists visit the homes of patients who are not physically capable of going to a hospital or a laboratory. They perform blood collection for medical tests in the comfort of the patients’ homes.

Mobile phlebotomists commonly work for the Visiting Nurse Association or hospice organizations. Extra travel is a part of their job since they need to drop by different patients’ homes and to go to the laboratory to bring the samples.

Being a mobile phlebotomist is a perfect option for those who like being on the move.

  • Blood Donation Centers and Blood Drives

Blood donation centers and blood drives are venues where the services of phlebotomists are central and highly essential.

Phlebotomists who work in blood donation centers usually deal with healthy people who wish to donate blood. The blood they collect is not used for medical tests; instead, it is given to patients who need blood.

The blood samples that phlebotomists draw from donors are commonly donated to patients in emergency rooms and intensive care units who have lost blood or suffered trauma due to accidents or illnesses. The recipients also include patients who need blood transfusions as part of their medical treatment for sickness or injuries.

FAQs about How To Become a Phlebotomist

  • What is the best place to work as a phlebotomist?

Top-rated companies for Phlebotomists in the United States

  1. Mako Medical Laboratories.
  2. Bio-Reference Laboratories, Inc.
  3. Quest Diagnostics.
  4. Labcorp.
  5. BioLife Plasma Services.
  • Where do phlebotomists make the most money?

The metropolitan areas that pay the highest salary in the phlebotomist profession are Redding, San Diego, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, and San Jose.

Redding, California. $52,770.

San Diego, California. $51,920.

Santa Rosa, California. $51,620.

Santa Cruz, California. $51,070.

San Jose, California. $50,710.

  • How long should phlebotomy take?

You’ll need to complete 20 hours of training in a state-approved program to earn this certification. You’ll also need to perform 25 successful skin punctures on patients under the supervision of a clinical professional.

  • What qualifications do I need to be a phlebotomist?

There are no set entry requirements to become a trainee phlebotomist. Employers usually ask for at least two GCSEs or equivalent.

They may ask for a BTEC or equivalent vocational qualification in health and social care or healthcare. Employers often ask for relevant work experience.

  • How to become a phlebotomist

These steps will guide you on how to become a phlebotomist

  1. Graduate high school or get a GED
  2. Complete a phlebotomy training program
  3. Get certified by a recognized body
  4. Apply for positions and get a job

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