If you’ve had a blood test performed at some point in your life, then you have most probably encountered a phlebotomist. They offer support to medicine by providing all services that relate to drawing blood for various tests, blood donations, preparation of body fluid specimen for testing according to set guidelines etc. Certified phlebotomists are also allowed to perform point of care tests like glucose tests as well as evaluate the suitability of patients (or volunteers) for various veni-puncture procedures. They also reassure patients and allay any apprehension they may have towards certain procedures.

The Road-Map

An interest in phlebotomy should be the first thing you ensure you have before commencing this journey. Manual dexterity, Patience and perseverance in difficult situations are all good traits of this career.

You begin by making an application to the college of your choice, usually for a non refundable fee. You should choose your college having in mind pertinent things like the cost and duration of study in the school. The duration varies from one semester to an year.

Most of the training during this time is practical. Aspects of preventing self infection and cross infection when handling patients are taught. More hands on training can be got from volunteering in hospitals through internships. There are also some websites that offer online training for phlebotomy. Upon completion of learning a certificate is usually issued. This is simply an evidence of completion of studies and is not licensure certification.

As with other professions in the medical field, continuous education is encouraged to keep in touch with changing trends in technology. The Laboratory Field Services has accredited centers for continuous education. Attending training seminars is also essential to keep with current protocols in the field.

Certification

You will receive certification from The National Commission for Certifying Agencies, through the National Health-career association. You are required take and pass exams as well as present high school transcripts and a certificate of completion from your training school. The application can be made online or via postal mail. This certification is good for two years and needs renewal.

Licensure can be at 3 levels:

  1. Limited Technician – Authorized to only perform skin puncture blood collections.
  2. Certified Phlebotomy Technician I – Authorized to perform veni-puncutre and skin-puncture blood collections.
  3. Certified Phlebotomy Technician II – Authorized to perform veni-puncture, skin-puncture and arterial- puncture collections.

It is essential that these levels of competence exist as they allow specificity in job applications to meet particular job specifications by prospective employers.

Employment Opportunities

Every hospital requires a phlebotomist. Other employment avenues include blood donation services as well as in various researches.

Certification brings with it more job opportunities, higher salaries, job security and on- job experience. Earnings depend on experience, the facility (whether private or public) and from one state to another. Averagely, this ranges from $13.50 – $15.90 per hour.

Nature Of Work

If you become certified and become a phlebotomy technician, you’ll automatically be an integral member of the medical laboratory team. Your primary function will be to draw and collect blood from patients and the general public for donation or testing purposes. You’ll be the only contact between the medical laboratory and the patients and will be responsible for the facilitation of collection and transportation of blood specimens.

There is a strong need for phlebotomists to be professional and adhere to strict standards of practice. People are always skeptical to have their blood drawn by anyone – that’s why they trust certified technicians. As a Certified Phlebotomy Technician (CPT), you may perform some or all of the following duties:

  1. Perform basic phlebotomy procedures like assembling needles, blood collection devices, cotton and gauze.
  2. Verify and record patient’s identity and evaluate the ability of a patient to withstand veni-puncture procedure.
  3. After drawing blood, label and store blood samples for processing.
  4. Analyse information and make relevant recommendations.

The benefits of taking phlebotomy training include more job opportunities in hospitals, medical centres, blood banks or laboratories. You’ll have job security and an increased pay scale. Apart from also being a subject matter expert, you’ll be a respected member of the medical fraternity.

The Certificate’s Program

The courses are available at many accredited colleges and career schools. The duration of the program varies from one college to another. You must ensure that you have time to complete a 2 to 3 weeks full-time clinical placement before applying. Major courses offered in most colleges include:

  1. CPR and First Aid.
  2. Anatomy and physiology.
  3. Phlebotomy courses such as veni-puncture, urinalysis, and centrifuging and processing.

If you want to enrol for these courses, you must have a high school diploma or G.E.D. with acceptable training. The courses vary in length and may lead to a certificate of completion and some colleges even offer diploma. Each country has its own certification and licensing requirements.

The programs include several hours of classroom training and sufficient hours of extern-ship to provide you with a complete training experience. After completion of training you can take AADMM certification exams, NCCT and many others approved by your state.

How To Prepare For Exams

The process of preparing for exams can be stressful especially if you don’t have the right information. As an applicant, you have a number of sources to prepare you for exams. You may download the candidate’s handbook which provides details on how to apply and the process – it also includes procedures that need to be followed.

Get the content outline of the exams. This document will allow you to know the percentage of questions to be covered in each area of study. This also can be downloaded from the internet.

Buy or borrow reference materials like resource books published by various colleges. There are several publications and other resources available online especially if you are taking distant learning or internet classes. Also purchase practice tests which are designed to familiarize you with the style of examination questions.

Conclusion

Considering the number of blood tests done each day in a hospital, it’s obvious that phlebotomy is a good career choice. Employment is guaranteed and career growth can be acquired by continuous training.