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.

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Should I Become 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.

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Career Requirements

Education Level High school diploma or postsecondary vocational training program
Degree Field Phlebotomy
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 Dexterity; organizational; hand-eye coordination; compassion
Salary $30,670 per year (Median salary as of May 2014)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; 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. 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 for Career Advancement

Professional certification is strongly preferred by most employers, and phlebotomists who earn certification will be able to expand job opportunities, enjoy increased job security, and further advance their careers. 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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