Step by Step: How to Become a Phlebotomist

by Nadia Johnson

in Jobs

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Phlebotomists are trained professionals who draw blood from a patient. They may choose to find work in a federal or state hospital, in a private practice, or in a laboratory.

Phlebotomy is regarded as an entry-level medical career, and it is frequently viewed as a stepping stone to work of a more complex nature such as a nursing assistant, a registered nurse, or perhaps even a medical doctor.

Nevertheless, it’s true to say that there are very many trained phlebotomists who prefer to remain as such and do not wish to gravitate upwards in terms of progressing their career path.

Here, we should define some clear goals you will need to achieve to reach the dizzying heights of that of a phlebotomist.

Step 1: Prior Education

Most schools that offer training programs in phlebotomy do not demand particularly high academic achievement from their prospective students. Nevertheless, a high school diploma or something equivalent such as a GED will inevitably stand you in good stead for entry.

Further, to make a valid application to an approved training program, you must be 18 years of age or older.

In terms of school subjects, excelling in biology and chemistry will certainly provide you with a competitive edge over other candidates once you make an application for a phlebotomy course.

Step 2: Phlebotomy Training

Next, upon graduating from school, and no doubt you have with flying colors, you should start with your search for a phlebotomy school.

Most programs in phlebotomy are short-term, and usually persist for no longer than a year’s duration. An approved course in the subject matter will permit you to learn the basic skills you will require to work as a phlebotomist – the utilization of various tools and techniques; the drawing of blood; basic laboratory safety; legalities surrounding the trade.

Besides the theoretical aspects to training, you will also undergo a period of hands-on practice which shall be undertaken either in a hospital or at a laboratory. Your phlebotomy school will more than likely assist you with a placement.

Step 3: Certification

Upon completion of the training program, you may wish to pick up a certification, irrespective that a certification is not a legal requirement to begin practicing the trade in most states. The fact is, however, for the most part, employers will much prefer that you are certified prior to embarking on a career with them.

Moreover, the more advanced level of certification will allow you to broaden the type of activities that you undertake as a phlebotomist. As such, you may also expect a salary increase.

There are several states – namely Louisiana, California, and Nevada – that require certification to work as a phlebotomist. California goes a step further and insists that an employed phlebotomist must also be licensed.

Is it worth it? Absolutely! Statistics dictate that California offers phlebotomists the highest salaries in the U.S.

With this in mind, here are details on the best phlebotomy schools in California.

Step 4: Employment

Upon completing the steps listed above, you’ve now progressed to the point of searching out employment. Excited? No doubt about it!

Given that the healthcare sector, at least in terms of employment, is in a very healthy state of affairs, you should have no trouble, given that you’ve progressed well with respect to your training, in finding a place of work.

But let’s travel back in time for a moment. Gaining entry to employment is dependent on good communication skills. When you’re within the realms of the hands-on aspect of your training, it’s a great opportunity to network with fellow professionals in the field. Talk with the staff. Make friends. Approach the personnel in HR and explore employment opportunities.

Thus, being proactive as opposed to reactive is key.

How long will it take before becoming a phlebotomist?

In summary, we can briefly calculate the amount of time it will take to begin as a phlebotomist from the get-go.

  • Application to schools: Approximately one month
  • Training : Depending on the college – 1-2 semesters/ 4-8 months

Once all these steps have been accomplished, you may then consider yourself as a professional in the field of phlebotomy. Nevertheless, the final recommendation is indeed to become certified. This should take no longer than roughly a year on a part-time basis, presuming that you are working full time.

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