Phlebotomists are support clinical staff whose primary responsibility is to ensure that the collection, storage, transport and labeling of blood samples are free from contamination without posing any health hazards on their part. They may also be tasked to facilitate blood donations or transfusions.
In order to pursue this career, a phlebotomy training program has to be completed, obtain certification and eventually get hired as one. However, potential candidates contemplating on this career path would like to know how long is phlebotomy training going to take?
How long does it take to become a phlebotomist varies. It is dependent on the amount of time a trainee will allot for the program, where the course training will be held, and how long it will take to satisfy the requirements for certification.
- Fit in the schedule. If there is on-the-job training to be done, it will take about six months if done full time and twice longer for those who intend to pursue it part time. An associate degree will require about 60 to 70 credit hours and it will include general education courses that put an additional 15 more hours. Trainees might also do some volunteer work that will involve about 1,500 venepunctures to become used to the technique.
- Facilities for training. Schools that offer phlebotomy education may present a one year program through vocation school to get a diploma or a two-year program for an associate degree. There are six-month certificate courses which will equip the trainee to pass certification, but most employers prefer those with associate’s degrees. Private vocational establishments offer 10-week long accelerated program. College level phlebotomy training may last for a semester, which is about 15 to 16 weeks, which is for people who want to get employed as phlebotomists in the shortest amount of time.
- Finish the certification. Before one can be assessed for their phlebotomy skills, agencies that issue certificates will require the phlebotomy trainee to have done 100 venepunctures and should have spent about 200 clinical hours in training. It might take about five days to complete everything plus the time needed to review the study material for the final exam, which experts recommend to be about a month. The evaluation prior to certification will involve a demonstration of technical skill and a written examination on theoretical aspects.
There really isn’t any shortcut for those who want to get down to business when it comes to drawing blood. Venepuncture and all the other tasks associated with it is very serious business for the patient and the practitioner.
After phlebotomy training and phlebotomy certification are done, phlebotomists get to work with clinical laboratory technologists and liaise with other healthcare professionals. According to the US Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS), this profession is predicted to grow 13 per cent among other similar occupations from 2010 to 2020. The time and money spent will eventually pay off as the BLS reports that as of May 2012, phlebotomy technicians could earn about USD 21,300 to USD 42,600 annually.