Having graduated from an approved or accredited phlebotomy training program is beneficial to inexperienced phlebotomists looking for employment. A phlebotomy training program teaches future phlebotomists many aspects of phlebotomy – from phlebotomy technique to administrative activities. Graduates of phlebotomy training programs are well-rounded and are eligible for certification.
Courses may be available through health facilities, trade or vocational schools, or community colleges. As expected, the curriculum of each school or organization will differ from one to the next. Generally, the program will last from six to eight months. Students will receive both classroom and clinical instruction, usually totaling approximately 150 to 230 instructional hours.
Finding a phlebotomy program is easy. Many of the accrediting agencies are affiliated with schools and organizations that offer phlebotomy courses. The National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS) has a searchable database of 59 schools across the United States. Contact information is provided for each school or organization.
One example of a phlebotomy training course is offered by the Oakton Community College, located in Illinois. Considered a part time program, students attend classes two days each week for two semesters. The first semester consists of Medical Terminology, Introduction to Healthcare Issues, and Phlebotomy classes. In the second semester, the students participate in Phlebotomy Practicum.
During a phlebotomy training program, phlebotomists will learn about the body systems and how they work. These classes fall into the anatomy and physiology category. These classes may include the circulatory, lymphatic, respiratory, muscular, and skeletal systems.
Another important category of classes, phlebotomists will learn about blood and cell composition. Understanding how blood and cells are affected by infection and disease is a concept in phlebotomy. Phlebotomists will also learn blood sampling procedures. Most commonly used is venipuncture, but phlebotomists will learn other techniques that are used in newborns, children, some adults, and the elderly.
Laboratory safety is important for keeping phlebotomists and their patients safe. Understanding proper waste disposal, how to handle lab equipment and clean up skills are just some of the safety skills taught to phlebotomists. Working in the medical field, phlebotomists must recognize that many patients may have pre-existing health conditions. Many phlebotomy programs offer CPR and first aid certification.
Topics covered by other courses phlebotomists may take include professional behavior, quality control, legal issues, and computer training. Good record keeping and labeling is an essential skill of phlebotomists. Poor labeling may result in mixed up specimens and test results.
When choosing a phlebotomy program or course, there are a few factors to consider. One is location. Many programs are available but may not be close to home. Another consideration is the length of the program. Phlebotomy programs vary from one semester to one year in length. A third consideration is accreditation. Choosing an accredited program will automatically qualify you to write certification exam upon graduation. Enrolling in an accredited program also allows you to apply for federal financial aid programs and to find phlebotomy jobs soon after graduation. Phlebotomy students should also consider finances. Choosing a program with financial aid options may ease the burden of tuition.