How To Become A Phlebotomist

Phlebotomy Technician
Phlebotomists are healthcare professionals who assist doctors and nurses in drawing blood for tests, research, donations, and transfusions. They are trained in explaining the procedure to patients and assist them in recovering from adverse reactions. In addition to being called phlebotomists, they may also be titled as medical lab assistants or patient service technicians (PSTs), or clinical laboratory technicians. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job growth rate for these technicians is expected to be 13 percent between 2010 and 2020, which is about equal to the average growth rate for all occupations. The median annual salary in 2010 was $46,680.

What Do Phlebotomists Do?
A phlebotomist performs the following duties:

  • Draw blood from veins by syringe, vacuum tube, or butterfly venipuncture methods
  • Draw blood from capillaries by dermal puncture
  • Collect tissue or fluid samples
  • Collect samples at specific time intervals for tests
  • Transport collected samples from collection sites to laboratories
  • Keep instruments clean and sterile and ensure that syringes and needles are used once only
  • Dispose of hazardous fluids like blood in accordance with medical practices
  • Dispose of contaminated sharps in accordance with medical practices
  • Data entry for billing, insurance, specimen, or patient information
  • Match laboratory requisite forms to specimen tubes

How To Become A Phlebotomist
Becoming a phlebotomist does not require rigorous academic qualifications and training. Unlike many other healthcare related professions, phlebotomists may not need to be licensed; although, there may be exceptions, so you may want to check if your state requires phlebotomists to be licensed. However, they need to be at least high school graduates or have a G.E.D. with some college education. Phlebotomy courses are available at community colleges and technical schools, and they are offered both traditionally and online. Online courses may be more suitable for you if you are:

  • An older student who either does not want to study in a traditional environment or may be hesitant to study with students half your age.
  • Looking for cost-effective phlebotomy courses.
  • Hesitant or cannot for any reason commute to campus on a regular basis.
  • Looking for a career change but do not have the time to attend classes on campus.

Online phlebotomy courses cannot be completely taught through the internet though; students will have to attend hands-on training classes to help develop technical skills regarding intravenous blood withdrawal. Some accredited online courses may also require their students to complete an externship before graduation.

Is Phlebotomy For You?
If you are still undecided whether to pursue a career in phlebotomy, then consider if you have the following qualities and personal attributes. If you do, you may be more likely to be a successful phlebotomist:

  • Initiative
  • Flexibility/adaptability
  • Independence
  • Cooperation
  • Self-control
  • Concern for others
  • Stress tolerance
  • Dependability
  • Integrity
  • Attention to detail

If you have all or some of the abovementioned qualities, then looking into a career in phlebotomy is worth exploring and researching. It is a profession and not a job. For its lack of stringent academic and other requirements, phlebotomy may pay well.



Q:What is the difference between venipuncture and phlebotomists.

A:Phlebotomists are medical professionals trained to draw blood from a patient for medical testing and analysis. Venipuncture is one of the processes used by phlebotomists. This is a routine procedure and is the most common method by which blood is drawn from a vein for sampling, or for the purpose of intravenous therapy. The difference between the two is that one is a profession while the other is a method of practice.

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