Phlebotomist certification programs train students on how to properly and safely obtain and prepare blood and body fluid samples from patients for laboratories, with coursework in health and safety procedures, collection techniques, patient care, general anatomy and medical terminology. Curriculum also involves a clinical and internship component for direct experience and application.
The length of these programs varies by institution; some are 14-16 credit hours long, while others require only 1 course and a practicum. Applicants must take various tests to prove proficiency in math and writing comprehension, and physical abilities, like manual dexterity and motor skills. A criminal background check must also be passed.
Classes in these programs provide the technical skills and knowledge required to perform daily duties. In addition to medicine and science-based classes, students in these programs examine the legal and business aspects of the field with courses like:
- Healthcare ethics
- Professionalism in a medical setting
- Medical communications
- Healthcare law
- Patient care basics
- Universal safety procedures
Phlebotomists work in many different facilities, including private and hospital laboratories, blood banks, medical offices and clinics. They typically work under the direction of a laboratory manager or medical technologist. Possible job titles, besides phlebotomist, include:
- Blood drive worker
- Medical technician
- Medical laboratory assistant
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for phlebotomists is predicted to grow at a rate of 23% from 2018 to 2028. The mean annual salary for these professionals was $35,560 in May 2018 (www.bls.gov).
Continuing Education Information
Phlebotomists are not required to be licensed or certified by law. Employers may prefer professional certification, but it is typically voluntary. Individuals need no further education to work in the field, but those who wish to advance into other medical positions, such as medical laboratory technologist or clinical technician, may consider an associate or bachelor's degree in a medical technology.
Graduates of a phlebotomist certification program can expect positive job growth in the field and will be ready to earn professional certification if they choose. Programs prepare students for their career by teaching the required medical, science and social skills needed to work with patients.