Part of the phlebotomy training process involves the drawing of blood for specimen analysis and transfers, so you are interested in healthcare and aren’t squeamish about blood, a career as a phlebotomist might be for you! Phlebotomists are employed by medical clinics, physicians, hospitals, and laboratories. Becoming familiar with the many different ways on how to become a phlebotomist should be your first step.
In some cases, it is possible to become a phlebotomist with simply a high school education. Clinics or hospitals may take on high school graduates and train them as phlebotomists. However, some phlebotomy jobs require more duties than simply drawing blood. Phlebotomists must be knowledgeable of human anatomy and physiology, as well as having good interpersonal skills. A phlebotomy program will adequately prepare phlebotomists for all aspects of their job. One step further is becoming a certified phlebotomist. Certification is not necessary to become a practicing phlebotomist, except in California and Louisiana. Certified phlebotomists are often preferred by potential employers, therefore having certification is to your benefit. There is more than one way to be eligible to become certified.
The first route to becoming certified involves no formal training. The requirements between certifying agencies varies slightly, but most require approximately one year of experience as a phlebotomist to be eligible for the certification exam. This involves successfully completing a certain number of venipuncture and dermal procedures. Similarly, nurses or other medical personnel may choose to specialize in phlebotomy. In this case, a certain number of successful venipunctures and dermal procedures are required to be eligible for the exam.
The second route involves completing a formal phlebotomy program. There are two types of phlebotomy programs. The first consists of adequate training, but does not leave graduates certified. The second program type incorporates the certifying exam into the curriculum and students must successfully write the certifying exam to graduate from the course. Programs fitting the second description will be offered by nationally recognized and accredited schools. If certification is your goal, select only accredited phlebotomy schools when applying to and starting a phlebotomy program.
Another option is to attend a workshop offered by the American Phlebotomy Association. The workshops are designed for medical personnel or those with a background in biology and chemistry. Offered once per month in Maryland, each workshop lasts two days. The topics covered include blood flow, order of draw, tube and test recognition, and specimen processing. Participants will have the opportunity to practice what they have learned on mannequins and humans. Participants are eligible to write the national American Phlebotomy Association certification exam.
Online courses are becoming readily available. Choosing to take online phlebotomy courses may prepare you academically as a phlebotomist; however, it is not possible to be eligible to write a certifying exam without hours of hands-on experience and successful venipuncture and dermal procedures. If you choose to complete your phlebotomy training via the online route, look for a program that will help you to set up an internship to complete the clinical requirements. It is sometimes possible to complete the written portion of a certification exam online, although a hands-on portion is still required.
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