If you want to become a part of the healthcare profession, then you should seriously consider learning how to become a phlebotomist. A phlebotomist basically gains training to be able to successfully draw blood from patients in a sanitary, correct, and safe manner. The blood drawn from patients is normally used for a variety of reasons like testing, donation, and disease identification among others.
As member of the allied healthcare sector, they are not only responsible for medical extraction of blood, but can also be tasked with the preparation and processing of blood tests. For many workers in the health profession, blood work is their least favorite part of the job. Patients likewise may experience the same level of dislike, which is where the skills of an effective phlebotomist become extremely important to handle patient situations. To learn how to become a phlebotomist, follow these steps.
Get your high school diploma or equivalent.
The minimal requirement on how to become a phlebotomist is to have a high school diploma, or its academic equivalent. No one will have the chance for a future education or training in this medical field unless they are in possession of these basic requirements. Receiving your high school diploma or equivalent like the GED will allow candidates to satisfy the basic requirements to benefit from phlebotomy training.
The importance of being able to satisfy this condition is emphasized by the fact that the other basic requirement to be able to become a candidate for phlebotomy training programs is to be at least 18 years old. Getting your high school diploma or equivalent therefore becomes your most important step.
Satisfy a phlebotomy training program.
Once you already possess the basic requirements, the next step is to find an adequate training program that you can take advantage of. Normally, those who are looking for careers as a phlebotomist would look for programs in colleges or technical schools. The programs are commonly short-term with majority not going over a year. This means that your investment in time is extremely minimal before you can actually start your practice.
These types of programs will teach candidates to draw blood properly and correctly interact with patients. Usually these types of programs also emphasize the need to be aware of laboratory safety, disposal of equipment, and potential legal issues. It is important to consider a balance between hands-ontraining and classroom learning environments. This allows candidates to be better prepared for real world challenges.
Decide to get your license and certification.
The next step on how to become a phlebotomist after completion of the training program is to ensure that you become licensed and certified. Some candidates may think that this is an option for them. However, the reality is that because of the intense competition in the job market, licensing and certification are necessities that every phlebotomist should seriously consider.
Certifications in this field are commonly provided by the American Society of Clinical Pathologists, American Association of Medical Personnel, or the American Medical Technologists or AMT. To be certified by any of these organizations, candidates should satisfy the eligibility requirements of the organization issuing the certification. Like in the case of AMT, aside from completion of the training program, it requires candidates to have a minimum of 1,400 clinical hours.
Once the certification has been passed, candidates now have a better chance of landing something substantial in the job market. It is good to understand that majority of employers prefer hiring phlebotomists that have national certification credentials like the Registered Phlebotomy Technician credential from AMT.
Aside from employers, states like California also require phlebotomists to be licensed before they are allowed to work. Requirements can vary substantially depending on the state.
Requirements for certification.
Now that you know how important certification is, you need to know the requirements that will allow you to get it successfully. The certifying bodies are primarily responsible for ensuring the quality standards that are imposed on every phlebotomist for the protectionofpatients. This therefore highlights the need to be aware of the different requirements of every certifying body recognized by the government.
- ASCP or American Society for Clinical Pathology – the classroom training should have covered physiology, anatomy, and the circulatory system. Important topics like specimen collection, processing, handling, and laboratory operations should have been tackled. The laboratory where your internship was done should be regulated based on the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendmentof 1988. Other requirements are:
- High school diploma or equivalent
- 40 classroom hours
- 120 hours of hands-on training
- 100 successful and unaided blood collections
- APT or Association of Phlebotomy Technicians – the most common requirements for those that have no previous work experience are:
- Completion of accredited training program on phlebotomy
- 100 successful and documented venipuncture
- 5 successful skin punctures
- Active membership to the APT
- NPA or National Phlebotomy Association – certification is only given by this organization to those who have successfully completed phlebotomy training program, which covers venipuncture techniques, hands-on clinical practical internship, and 160 classroom hours aside from the clinical practical internship.
Get employed in your chosen field.
The last step on how to become a phlebotomist is to be able to find suitable employment from the job market. Remember that a phlebotomist is not a phlebotomist until he actually performs the work of one. This means that it is not enough to satisfy the phlebotomy training program, or to get licensed and certified, you need to be able to apply all the things that you have learned.
Hospitals and private clinics remain as the most feasible sources of employment for phlebotomists based on the figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics or BLS. Aside from this, licensed phlebotomists can also find potential employment in clinical laboratories where they may be asked to assist other medical professionals as well as laboratory technologists.
The main responsibility is the same; testing and screening of blood samples collected from donors. Good news is that the BLS predicts a 14% growth of this field within the next five years.
Following these five critical steps on how to become a phlebotomist will ensure that you will never go wrong in your career path.