Have you ever considered a career as a phlebotomist? This profession has seen steady growth in recent years, and for a good reason. By becoming a phlebotomist, you can provide important services to the medical community while enjoying job security and ample room for career advancement. Here's a closer look at what phlebotomy is, how to become a phlebotomist, and what career options are available.
What Does a Phlebotomist Do?
A phlebotomist is responsible for drawing blood from patients for diagnostic testing or other medical procedures. To do this job effectively, they must be knowledgeable about anatomy and possess excellent interpersonal skills. They must also understand laboratory testing protocols and procedures, safety protocols regarding blood-borne pathogens, and universal precautions when dealing with bodily fluids.
Where Does a Phlebotomist Work?
A phlebotomist can work anywhere. For example, they may work in a hospital traveling from room to room and taking blood from patients for testing. They may also work in a private laboratory, where they draw blood from patients sent in by their doctors, or directly in a doctor's office.
What Education Is Required to Become a Phlebotomist?
If you are interested in pursuing this career path, you will need to complete a phlebotomy training program accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). Phlebotomy training programs can last from a few weeks to several months, depending on your ability to attend classes full or part-time.
During your training program, you will learn about many things, including:
- Anatomy and physiology
- Laboratory techniques and procedures
- Infection control methods
- Medical terminology
- Patient care skills
- Communication techniques
- Venipuncture techniques
- Lab safety standards
Once you've completed your phlebotomy training program and earned your certification in either phlebotomy or clinical laboratory sciences—which may be required depending on your state—you will be ready to enter the workforce as an entry-level phlebotomist.
What Are Career Path Options?
As with any profession, there are several paths that aspiring phlebotomists can choose from once they've completed their training program. The most common paths involve working in hospitals or clinics as an entry-level phlebotomist before looking for other opportunities, such as becoming a mobile or contract phlebotomist or even teaching others how to perform venipuncture. There are also opportunities within the forensic science field as well as climbing the nursing ladder, from licensed practical nurse (LPN) to registered nurse (RN).
The healthcare industry is always growing, so there is always room for more qualified professionals. If this path appeals to you, your first step is to complete a phlebotomy training program. For more information on phlebotomy training programs, contact a professional near you.