The health care team is an interlocking, dynamic group.Each member must do its part in order to offer the best care possible to patients. This team is not just made up of doctors and nurses but also of a wide range of technical professionals. One such important member is the phlebotomy technician. The phlebotomy tech works to safely draw and collect blood from patients. Without them, it would be difficult to get important blood based diagnostic testing done fast and efficiently. The phlebotomy technician is an important member of the health care team and is a great career choice if you yourself are looking to become part of that team in a relatively short amount of time.
Phlebotomy Tech Training
In, order to become a Phlebotomy technician, you must enroll in an accredited training program. Luckily, there are little requirements to meet when enrolling in this type of program. The most basic requirement is that you must be 18 years of age. You must also have a high school diploma or GED. All accredited training programs will require these two things for enrollment. Some may prefer to enroll candidates that have successfully completed science classes such as chemistry or anatomy at the high school level. The curriculum is heavily science-oriented so students that have been previously exposed to these subjects may have an easier time grasping the material while in the program.
Once enrolled, you can expect to take courses in human anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, and medical laws as applicable to phlebotomy technicians. The focus across the curriculum will be on proper blood collection technique since the integrity of blood samples is key in this field. Contamination of a sample or creation of scenarios that pose risk of illness for the phlebotomist or patient must be avoided at all cost. Because of this, the majority of the focus will be placed on identifying common mistakes that may increase the risk for these. Training programs will also have a hands-on clinical, or “practical,” component. These will provide future phlebotomy technicians with supervised opportunities to draw blood and interact with patients, allowing them to get much needed practice before actually going out into the work setting. Programs typically extend through one or two semesters. This means that you can be on your way to becoming part of the health care team in as little as 4 to 8 months.
Getting Certified as a Phlebotomy Technician
After graduation, you can technically practice and seek work immediately; however, the majority of employers prefer to hire certified phlebotomy technicians. Technicians can seek certification as soon as they meet the minimum requirements. The minimum requirements are:
- a minimum of 40 hours of classroom instruction
- 100 hours of clinical training
- a minimum 100 unaided skin punctures and venipunctures.
Once these requirements are met, you can schedule to sit for the certification exam through one of the five certifying bodies. Of the five, the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) and the National Phlebotomy Association are the most commonly used.
Becoming part of the team
Once trained, you are ready to look for a position as a Phlebotomy technician in a healthcare setting. Phlebotomy technicians can work in a variety of places. These include clinical laboratories, hospitals, community health centers, nursing homes, doctors’ offices, and blood donation centers. As mentioned previously, you will increase your chances of getting employed once you are certified. You will also be able to compete for positions of higher salary rates than if you were not certified. You can become even more competitive by earning advanced certifications while working. Such may include training in histotechnology, blood banking, or cytotechnology. Holding one or more of these specialized certificates makes a phlebotomy technician more employable and can lead to higher salaried positions as well. Some places of employment may even cover the costs of this specialized training. On average, phlebotomists earn an average of $13.50 per hour but, remember, this can significantly increase with specialization. It is worth investing the time to complete these extra trainings.
The educational requirements to become a phlebotomy technician are low and training time is short. This makes it a good choice for someone who wants to become part of the health care team in less than 12 months. The demand for phlebotomy technicians is projected to grow by 15 percent by 2020, meaning that there will be a lot of great employment opportunities for those interested in becoming a member of this field. If you’ve already decided that this quickly attainable field is for you, find a training program near you to begin your journey towards health care career goal today.