Phlebotomists are healthcare workers responsible for drawing blood for clinical analysis necessary for diagnosing illnesses the patient might have. Aside from collecting blood, these professionals need to ensure that their collected samples are free from contamination and that these have the right paperwork. They might work part-time or combine the skill with their role as support healthcare workers.
If you want to know how to be a phlebotomist, here are some steps you need to undergo in order to pursue a career in phlebotomy.
- Graduate from high school (also known in other countries as the General Certificate for Secondary Education) or pass the GED exams.
- The initial step how to become a phlebotomist is to satisfy the minimum requirements for phlebotomy training. For most countries, phlebotomy technicians initially start learning the ropes through an on the job training, but to qualify it requires good grades in their GCSE.
- In the UK and New Zealand, the GCSE in English, maths and science will matter if to be admitted in their training.
- In the United States, a high school diploma or GED certificate will suffice. The ideal candidate should have a good grasp of maths, English communication and science.
- At times, a college or university degree can be a substituted for the high school diploma and should at least be 18 years old by time of training.
Other requirements that may be needed to become a phlebotomist.
- Before any training can begin, a potential trainee must be armed with more than a high school diploma to adjust to the potential health hazards and technical skills demanded from phlebotomy training.
- First aid training will also be very useful. Mastery of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) will be needed during emergency situations.
- Complete vaccination for Hepatitis B, Tuberculosis, Measles, Chicken pox, and Tetanus shorts within the last decade plus current flu shots might also be required. A phlebotomy trainee will encounter patients and their bodily fluids which can cause potential health hazards if not handled properly.
- Previous work experience will also be beneficial in training, especially if it is in a caring role. Other useful experience may also be considered such as those who have previously worked in laboratories or have had training or experience as a nurse or nurse aide.
Undergo a state accredited phlebotomy training course.
- Phlebotomy technicians in the UK focus on how to draw blood from a wide variety of patients, which includes children and older patients. However, theories are also incorporated in the training why there is a need for standards and codes of practice, factors to consider when choosing the right venepuncture sites, labelling practices, and the different collection vials, and knowing the hazards of the job.
- In New Zealand, trainee phlebotomist work for two years while those who have had their qualifications approved by the Medical Sciences Council of New Zealand, training is shortened to about a year.
- In the United States, the practicum is often incorporated in between lectures and students are required to attend it. The course may last for about three months or as long as a year. Additional requirements such as 200 hours of clinical training as phlebotomists and about 100 venepunctures are also included.
Opt to get your phlebotomy training certified.
- After the required training period which is about half a year, a certificate will be issued which allows the bearer to work in the UK without close supervision in the establishment.
- Upon completion of their training tenure, phlebotomy trainees in New Zealand must pass the Qualified Medical Laboratory Technician exams to get themselves certified.
- Certain states in the USA might require certification, which might be issued after passing an exam facilitated by the American Society for Clinical Pathologists or American Medical Technologists.
Look for phlebotomy work.
- Local doctor’s offices, hospitals and private clinics are always in need of certified phlebotomists to collect samples and to perform venepuncture procedures for diagnostic purposes.
- Other vacancies may also be available in blood donation centres need phlebotomy technicians to extract, handle and ensure proper blood storage for transfusion.
- Specialised facilities or diagnostic laboratories that regularly collect blood samples for testing and research may have posts open for certified phlebotomists.
Get hired as a phlebotomy technician.
- Phlebotomy technicians in the UK will have a 37.5 hour week, from 9 in the morning to 5 in the afternoon during weekdays. Part time shifts are also available. For full time workloads, expect an annual salary of about GBP 14,300 to about GBP 17,400, depending on the establishment.
- Phlebotomy trainees in New Zealand may receive a phlebotomy salary of NZD 31,000 to NZD 43,000 annually while qualified donor technicians start at NZD 41,000 up to NZD 45,000 while qualified phlebotomists can earn up to NZD 52,000 annually. The work is usually done in eight hour shifts and some might work on weekends. Those who work in community medical laboratories work part-time. Other phlebotomy technicians might travel to doctor’s surgeries, rest homes, and their patient’s homes or workplace.
- In the USA, workload is dependent on the position applied for. Expect to work in 8-hour shifts, even on weekends and holidays. Average income is about USD 26,900 to USD 31,400 annually.
Pursue more training on phlebotomy or further studies related to phlebotomy : Most phlebotomists pursue a career in Nursing or specialise in certain aspects of phlebotomy, such as paediatric phlebotomy.
Phlebotomy is a career in healthcare where one doesn’t put up with intensive coursework and years of study before getting paid to do that. It is also for people who want a secure job in clinical establishments and diagnostic laboratories without the fear of being unemployed for years, as the demand for skilled phlebotomy technician increases with the boom in population. Despite its perks, it also sets up the phlebotomists with the risk of exposing themselves to infectious body fluids plus getting stuck in a certain post for decades with very little possibility for promotion or higher pay than what is set by the industry standards.
- NHS Careers UK. (2014). Phlebotomist – nhs careers. [online] Retrieved from: http://www.nhscareers.nhs.uk/explore-by-career/wider-healthcare-team/careers-in-the-wider-healthcare-team/clinical-support-staff/phlebotomist/ [Accessed: 3 Mar 2014].
- PIMA Medical Institute. (2014). Phlebotomy technician certificate training program. [online] Retrieved from: http://pmi.edu/programdetail/phlebotomy-technician [Accessed: 3 Mar 2014].
- Portland Community College. (2014). Pathways – phlebotomy | pcc. [online] Retrieved from: https://www.pcc.edu/career/pathways/professional-technical/phlebotomy/ [Accessed: 3 Mar 2014].
- National Careers Service UK. (2014). Phlebotomist job information | national careers service. [online] Retrieved from: https://nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk/advice/planning/jobprofiles/Pages/phlebotomist.aspx [Accessed: 3 Mar 2014].
- Careers NZ. (2014). Phlebotomist – how to enter the job. [online] Retrieved from: http://www.careers.govt.nz/jobs/health/phlebotomist/how-to-enter-the-job [Accessed: 3 Mar 2014].