How do I get Phlebotomist Training?
There are a variety of ways to receive phlebotomist training. Mandatory phlebotomist training varies from state to state, but most require a six-week certification course, as well as a high school diploma. This is the minimal amount of training, and many career and technical schools offer a more intensive program that is still relatively short.
The phlebotomist training received from a career or trade school normally lasts between two and four months. During this time, the trainee will learn the art of venipuncture, or drawing blood from a vein. They will also learn how to draw blood in smaller amounts from a fingerstick. Drawing blood from babies and very small children also requires special care, and phlebotomists learn to use a special needle to draw blood from the scalp, or for smaller amounts, from the heel.
Phlebotomists are also permitted to perform intramuscular and subcutaneous injections, and this skill is typically covered in the more advanced phlebotomist training performed at a career or technical school. In some states, phlebotomists can start and administer Heparin IVs, and flush IVs with saline. These skills are taught at the more intensive training programs as well.
Phlebotomy is a lower paying career than nursing and some other healthcare related fields, so many phlebotomists continue their education once they are employed. This allows them to perform additional duties, and qualify for positions with more responsibility. There are a variety of ways that a phlebotomist can receive specialized training, such as taking college courses, attending continuing education classes, and receiving mentoring on the job.
Some phlebotomists study and test to become certified medical assistants (CMAs). CMAs are responsible for a variety of duties, and are employed by hospitals and in doctors’ offices. Other phlebotomists may choose to earn a two-year degree as a clinical laboratory technician. Clinical laboratory technicians are responsible not only for drawing blood, but for shepherding it through the testing process. In some cases, the blood will be tested on site, while other times the technician will prepare the blood for shipment to an outside laboratory.
Community colleges often offer training in clinical laboratory technology. This is a career field that is currently growing, and is expected to continue to grow for the foreseeable future. For someone considering phlebotomy as a career, investing the time into a degree program can increase earning power, as well as make it easier to find jobs in a tight market.
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