Phlebotomy – The Smart Career Choice

In today’s tough job market, people are striving to find a stable career that offers variety and an opportunity to help others. A career as a Phlebotomist offers you the opportunity to assist others while working in an exciting and stable work environment.

Phlebotomists are trained to collect blood from patients for testing and medical care. Working closely with the patient in a gentle and professional manner can ensure the blood collection process is comfortable. For those seeking a career as a Phlebotomist, a willingness to help others and a compassionate disposition can make this the perfect career choice.  Depending on the setting you chose, your career may involve working with those in their time of need. Your skills and compassion, as well as a gentle touch, may provide a positive and lasting impact.

Unlike other areas which have been strongly affected by the job market, the healthcare industry is flourishing.  Due in part to the increase in our elderly population, healthcare careers such as a career in Phlebotomy are in high demand. Hospitals, doctors, specialty centers, nursing homes and mobile units all utilize Phlebotomists, making this profession a smart and stable career choice.

In a hospital setting, Phlebotomists are active members of the hospital staff, and can be seen functioning in the emergency department, as well as the laboratory and patient rooms. In emergency settings, urgent blood draws allow the doctor and staff to quickly and accurately diagnose and treat critical patients based in part on lab results. A trained Phlebotomist able to quickly obtain these blood specimens can play a vital role in truly saving lives.

Phlebotomists are also vital in nursing home care. For patients no longer able to come to a lab, the Phlebotomist comes to patient rooms and provides a gentle touch while obtaining the blood specimens needed for that elderly patient’s care.

Doctor’s offices and specialty centers also utilize the skills of a Phlebotomist. Certain specialty areas, such as pediatrics, would place the Phlebotomist in daily contact with children and their unique challenges for obtaining blood specimens. Other areas such as a family practice, allow the Phlebotomist a close working environment with the Doctor and staff.

Phlebotomists can also obtain a career in a mobile setting. Mobile units are used to reach patients not able to travel.  In addition, mobile units are utilized by the Red Cross and other organizations to promote and collect blood used for transfusion.

Along with collecting blood, the Phlebotomist has additional duties. Proper labeling and storage of the collected blood is vital. Patient care can be determined by blood results and proper labeling ensures each patient’s blood specimen is truly their own. In addition, proper storage makes sure the blood samples are not contaminated and therefore unusable for testing purposes.

To become a Phlebotomist there are many short term courses available. The short term coursework may be perfect for those wishing to advance in their current employment, such as a doctor’s office. Some employers seek those with a longer, more qualified education, such as a one year training program.  To obtain funding, many employers such as hospitals offer funding if Phlebotomy is in your related line of work.

Schooling involves classroom time, as well as clinical time and lab hours. Your schooling may be split into sections of coursework.  In most states, you will be required to complete forty hours of coursework that includes training in the Science field. Additionally, forty hours of schooling will be required in clinical training. This training can be obtained in a semester length setting, while other training courses offer shorter courses of around six weeks. The variance in length allows those who are able to devote full time schooling to obtain the required coursework in a faster fashion, yet gives working parents or those who can only devote a short amount of time the wonderful opportunity to obtain the training as well.

Once schooling has been completed successfully, certification can be obtained. Each state has different certification testing sites for the Phlebotomy Certification test. Many testing sites are given by associations that have been nationally recognized in the medical field. There are also three agencies that are approved for your Phlebotomy certification testing: the National Phlebotomy Association, the American Society for Clinical Pathology, and the Association of Phlebotomy Technicians.

The testing for certification requires a written test which ensures you are fully knowledgeable about Phlebotomy and the proper procedures in this field. Your certification, varying from state to state, may also require you to complete one hundred venipunctures (blood draws) as well as complete two hundred hours of phlebotomy training in a clinical practice.

Some employers may want, in addition to your Phlebotomy Certification, additional on-the-job training in their particular setting. This allows you to become familiar with the practices and preferences of that employer. Frequently, larger employers such as hospitals require this additional training, allowing you to become familiar with laboratory procedures and practices, as well as staff. While in training, you will receive training pay. Once this on-the-job training is completed, you will begin your regular paid rate.

Your pay rate will vary, but averages between $12 to $16.00 an hour.  Your hours of work will vary depending on the career setting you have chosen. Hospitals usually offer early morning hours for Phlebotomists, as these times are daily collection times for patients as well as scheduled surgery times. However, there are all shifts available in a hospital setting, because Phlebotomists are needed for the twenty-four hour care provided.

While a setting in a doctor’s office affords you the same hours as the practice holds, working in a nursing home setting may require morning hours as well.  Working in a blood bank or mobile unit offers varying shifts so you can easily find one that suits your particular wants.

Once your Phlebotomy training is completed, you will now be a licensed Phlebotomist. There are many career opportunities awaiting you, and the choice can be somewhat confusing because of the high demand. You will enjoy a stable and committed career helping patients in their time of need, as well as impacting their families with your professional and compassionate care.

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