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How to Become a Phlebotomist

Majors Overview December 27, 2012

Blood samples are collected from patients by specialized medical lab technicians known as phlebotomists (source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)). In collecting patients’ blood samples, phlebotomists follow instructions from physicians and they are required to ensure the use of sterile needles; they must ensure that there is always a well-stocked inventory. Other job responsibilities for phlebotomists includes maintaining appropriate documentation, process orders received and generate reports. In this article, we will look at the career path of a phlebotomist and discuss what an aspiring phlebotomist must do in order to pursue their career path.

An aspiring phlebotomist has to satisfy the minimum educational requirements of holding a high school diploma; additionally, they will benefit from vocational training. Employers have a clear preference for aspirant phlebotomists holding a certificate in the field of specialization.

Principal Requirements for a Prospective Phlebotomist

A prospective phlebotomist is required to hold a high school diploma or equivalent qualification; some employers demand postsecondary qualifications. Such degree qualification must be sought in the specialty field of phlebotomy. Preference is given to certificate holders; such certification is awarded by different organizations. Certification norms include either an academic qualification in the phlebotomy major or some previous experience in the field. Phlebotomist assistants are expected to demonstrate manual dexterity in drawing blood and must have the ability to maintain organized records (sources: American Medical Technologists; CareerBuilder.com).

Stage-wise Guide Aimed at Helping Phlebotomist Launch Their Career

Stage One: Earning a High School Diploma

As stated earlier in this article, an aspiring phlebotomist has to satisfy the minimum educational requirement of holding a high school diploma; additionally, they can take vocational training in the form of various science classes. Students will benefit from the development of employment skills such as being able to multi-task and to create detailed reports.

Stage Two: Gaining Field-specific Training

Post-secondary education is not a prerequisite to getting a job as a phlebotomist. However, completing a post-secondary education program will assist in fulfilling certification norms and increase the chances of getting employed. Some employers prefer candidates with certification. Certification coursework typically includes topics such as allied health, phlebotomy concepts, CPR and first aid techniques, and phlebotomy techniques. Certificate programs include internships that participating candidates can use to gain hands on experience in the field; those who do not enroll in certificate programs can gain such on-the-job training in medical settings. A bit of formal training are needed in order to get a certificate or a job. Training programs including internships are conducted in medical settings, and participants stand to acquire the skills and knowledge essential to launch them on a career in phlebotomy.

Stage Three: Pursuing Certification

Several organizations such as the American Society of Clinical Pathology (ASCP) and the American Medical Technologist (AMT) offer phlebotomy certification. Phlebotomy training and a high school diploma are standard requirements of all organizations; the requirements can be met through either hands on experience or enrollment in an educational course. Additionally, aspiring phlebotomists need to take a certification exam that will include coursework focused on specimen collections, safety measures, infection control, medical terminology, and techniques and procedures of phlebotomy.

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