A solid education from phlebotomy training programs is an asset to practicing phlebotomists. Although certification is not required by law in the United States, except in California and Louisiana, employers prefer to hire (and may only hire) phlebotomists that are nationally certified and have graduated from an accredited or approved phlebotomy training program. There are many different training programs available to those who desire to pursue a career in phlebotomy.
Associate and bachelor’s degrees are available in clinical and laboratory technology, which educate students about more aspects of technical positions than simply phlebotomy. More common are phlebotomy certificate programs. Degrees take two to four years to complete, whereas certificate programs can take as little as 12 weeks. Degrees cost five to ten times the amount of certificate programs for which the average tuition ranges from $1500 to $3000. Phlebotomists with a higher level of education may have an advantage when finding employment, but certified phlebotomists are still in high demand.
Factors influencing the selection of a bachelor certificate program will be dependent on the student. These factors usually include location, cost, duration of the program and class schedules. Some students may choose programs that are close to home, are short to complete, and offer flexible class schedules. Students should always be careful to select programs that have been recognized nationally or by national certifying agencies.
Examples of such organizations are the United States Department of Education and the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). Approved programs will use materials and curriculums that fit the standards set by the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Graduates of an approved or accredited program qualify to write national certification exams. Some phlebotomy training classes work in affiliation with certifying agencies to offer the exam to phlebotomists upon graduation.
There are different types of phlebotomy certificate programs. Some occur in a traditional classroom setting. These types of courses will offer both classroom and clinical instruction. Online courses are also available. Good online courses will offer a clinical component or help students set up an internship position to gain hands-on experience. In both cases, students will learn human anatomy and physiology, blood collection and storage techniques, administrative activities such as record keeping and labeling, and first aid and CPR. Online courses give students the opportunity to fit their studies into a busy schedule, which may include part time or full time employment.
Another option for phlebotomy students is to complete a workshop offered by the American Phlebotomy Association (APA). These workshops occur over a two-day period, running from 9am to 5pm each day. The workshops are designed for existing medical personnel or those with a background in biology and chemistry. Participants learn phlebotomy theory, including basic anatomy and physiology and blood collection techniques. Participants are given the opportunity to practice on both mannequins and humans. Preparation for the American Phlebotomy Association’s national certifying exam is also covered. Upon completion of the workshop, participants are eligible to write the certification exam. These phlebotomy training course and workshops are an excellent opportunity for those who desire to enter into the field of phlebotomy or phlebotomy training.