How To Become A Phlebotomist

How to become a phlebotomist

A phlebotomist is a medical person who takes blood samples from patients. The blood is typically drawn from a vein, a procedure known as a venipuncture. The certified phlebotomy technician then proceeds to prepare the blood samples to be sent to a clinical laboratory for analysis, research, or transfusions.

More on what is a phlebotomist.

Education Requirements

In order to become a phlebotomist, one must have a high school degree or an equivalent General Equivalency Diploma (GED). A high school diploma or GED is the minimum required education level. Furthermore, the health care prospect must have passed an official certification exam through state-approved institutions. The conditions mentioned above are obligatory as the job description includes an array of invasive procedures. However, for prospects without a high school diploma, a GED equivalency training program is the fastest and most efficient solution to meet the minimum required education.

Each state differs in pricing for obtaining a GED diploma and can range from tens of dollars, usually due to state subsidies, or hundreds of dollars:

  • Kentucky: the price per subject is $30 for a total cost of $120;
  • Florida: the price per subject is $32 for a total cost of $128;
  • Maine: The GED exam has been replaced by the HiSET (High School Equivalency Test) exam;
  • Minnesota: the price per subject is $30 for a total cost of $120;
  • Tennessee: The GED exam has been replaced by the HiSET (High School Equivalency Test) exam;
  • Oregon: the price per subject is $38 for a total cost of $152;
  • Arizona: the price per subject is $35 for a total cost of $140;
  • Connecticut: the price per subject is $0 for a total cost of $0;
  • Idaho: the price per subject is $30 for a total cost of $120;
  • Wisconsin: the price per subject is $33.75 for a total cost of $135;
  • Illinois: the price per subject is $30 for a total cost of $120;
  • Michigan: the price per subject is $37.50 for a total cost of $150;
  • Massachusetts: the price per subject is $31.25 for a total cost of $125;
  • Kansas: the price per subject is $33 for a total cost of $132;
  • Arkansas: the price per subject is $4 for a total cost of $16;
  • Alaska: the price per subject is $30 for a total cost of $120;
  • New York: The GED exam has been replaced by the TASC (Test Assessing Secondary Completion) exam;
  • South Carolina: the price per subject is $37.50 for a total cost of $150;
  • North Carolina: the price per subject is $20 for a total cost of $80;
  • Rhode Island: the price per subject is $30 for a total cost of $120;
  • South Dakota: the price per subject is $32.50 for a total cost of $130;
  • North Dakota: the price per subject is $30 for a total cost of $120;
  • Pennsylvania: the price per subject is $30 for a total cost of $120;
  • New Jersey: the price per subject is $30 for a total cost of $120;
  • Washington: the price per subject is $30 for a total cost of $120;
  • Nevada: the price per subject is $23.75 for a total cost of $95;
  • Louisiana: The GED exam has been replaced by the HiSET (High School Equivalency Test) exam;
  • New Mexico: the price per subject is $20 for a total cost of $80;
  • Maryland: the price per subject is $11.25 for a total cost of $45.

Consult other states, territories, and international fees and conditions. More info about each state can be found on official governmental websites.

How to become a phlebotomist: GED certification exam

Candidates should also keep in mind that there’s no online alternative to the exams. They must be at least 16 years old, schedule an exam date, and present themselves in the appointed classroom with a valid ID card. The identification card must contain the exact information given to the GED testing organization before scheduling.

A GED exam is fashioned into four parts pertaining to a general sphere of science. Each test section can be taken separately, but the student must pass all of them:

1. Reasoning Through Language Arts:

The first examination section must be completed in 2.5 hours and concentrates on determining the student’s reading and writing skills. Comprehension, grammar, editing, and paraphrasing are evaluated through fictional and non-fictional writings.

Education resources are accessible through the GED Reasoning Through Language Arts guide.

2. Mathematical Reasoning:

The second examination section focuses on algebraic and quantitative mathematical problems; each segment divided into a total testing time of 115 minutes. Most inquiries have a ready on-screen calculator.

Education resources are accessible through the GED Math: Quantitative, Arithmetic & Algebraic Problem Solving guide.

3. Social Studies:

The third examination section is composed of five subsections in 70 minutes: government science (25%), civic education (25%), U.S. history (20%), economics (10%), world knowledge (10%), and geography (10%).

Education resources are accessible through the GED Social Studies: Civics & Government, U.S. History, Economics, Geography & the World guide.

4. Science:

The fourth examination part includes four subsections in 1.5 hours: physics (40%), lifeforms (40%), the Universe (10%), and planet Earth (10%). The subjects are selected-response questions, apart from two open-queries.

Education resources are accessible through the GED Science: Life, Physical and Chemical guide.

Other high school graduation equivalency programs include:

  • HiSET (High School Equivalency Test);
  • TASC (Test Assessing Secondary Completion);
  • CHSPE (California High School Proficiency Exam);
  • HSED (High School Equivalency Diploma or HEP);
  • Adult high school.

Becoming a Phlebotomist

Entry-Level Training & On The Job Training

Basic training programs for phlebotomy technician medical assisting are obtainable in a couple of months and offer primary theoretical knowledge. Still, healthcare professionals need to acquire hands-on preparation. The best way to gain autonomy is through on the job training. This way, phlebotomists earn experience and familiarization with the workplace and job duties.

On the job training can be obtained by getting a job, an internship, or volunteering at clinics, nursing homes, veterans’ hospitals, the American Red Cross, or local blood banks.

What does a phlebotomist do

A phlebotomist is a medical assistant specialized in invasive procedures. He’s the right hand of the doctor and must be able to administer injections, draw blood, collect bodily fluids, and prepare the specimens. Other duties include:

  • Handling needles and subcutaneous puncture sticks;
  • Blood banks and blood donation centers data collection;
  • Performing sterilization and infection control;
  • Blood type identification;
  • Blood specimens preparation;
  • Adhere to safety precautions;
  • Diagnosis interpretation;
  • Patient guidance, registration, and identification;
  • Performing venipunctures with butterfly techniques;
  • Centrifuge blood samples if allowed by the state;
  • Maintaining inventory and performing maintenance.

Skills required to become a phlebotomist:

  • Good hand-eye coordination and dexterity;
  • Attentiveness to labeling and specimen processing;
  • Physical and mental stamina;
  • Strong stomach to take blood, urine, or stool sample;
  • Body anatomy and medical terminology knowledge;
  • Excellent social and communicative capabilities;
  • Patience with the elderly, young, and disabled.

How to become a Certified Phlebotomy Technician

The average phlebotomy technician has a high school diploma or equivalent GED education and has pursued official phlebotomy certification through accredited institutions. Although some states might have relaxed or even none existent training requirements to work as a phlebotomist, other states demand it; such is the case of California which requires official certification and only accepts six national boarding institutions:

  1. National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT) or Multi-skilled Medical Certification Institute (MMCI);
  2. American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP);
  3. American Medical Technologists (AMT);
  4. American Certification Agency (ACA);
  5. National Healthcareer Association (NHA);
  6. National Credentialing Agency (NCA).

The previously mentioned institutions are arguably the best as they allow to work across the United States. More so, Nevada, Washington, and Louisiana have similar strict licensing and phlebotomy certification requirements as California. However, other respectable education institutions include:

  • National Phlebotomy Solution (NPS);
  • American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians (ASPT);
  • National Phlebotomy Association (NPA);
  • American Association of Bioanalysts (ABOR);
  • American Allied Health (AAH);
  • American Medical Certification Association (AMCA).

Due to the litigious nature of the U.S. healthcare system, and the invasive nature of phlebotomy, having proper phlebotomy certification has become a standardized industry condition. Constitutionally, patients have all rights reserved to sue the clinic, and having an uncertified phlebotomist may represent a legal vulnerability. Also, most medical insurances, such as Medicare, only deal with certified health care institutions and professionals. More about the types of phlebotomy certifications.

Completing a medical assistant certificate for phlebotomy takes around one year. A more valuable diploma from a college associate’s degree requires two years. A college bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree requires several years to complete, but will most certainly result in a higher salary and better employment opportunities. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, a phlebotomist with a college associate degree or higher education is expected to exceed the average annual phlebotomist salary of $33,670 ($15.50 per hour).

How to become a phlebotomist

Most phlebotomy certification programs are one-year training plans available at local technical or community colleges. Exclusive online classes are not available as you need hands-on experience to draw blood through various venipuncture techniques, preparing blood samples, performing skin punctures, and similar procedures. Some phlebotomy programs even offer night classes. It’s important to make sure that the institution is an accredited phlebotomy school through the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS) in order to obtain maximum universality for seizing future job opportunities.

Generally, applying to a phlebotomy program requires sending a formal application, usually through their official website, high school or GED transcripts, extra semester credits, eventual recommendation letters from current or past employers, and a short essay as a letter of intent.

Once accepted into the training program, the student will complete basic theoretical and practical training for a year or so. In this period, the student may pursue other degrees, such as CPR certification. It’s not uncommon, for those without any work experience, to subscribe to an internship training program to obtain 1,040 hours of work experience, at least 100 successful venipunctures, or similar essentials. Subsequently, the prospect may apply for national phlebotomist certification, and if needed, state licensing. Such programs are designed to standardize and prepare the student for immediate placement within the health care workforce.

After obtaining national certification, the phlebotomist may apply for state licensing by passing an exam. Currently, only California, Washington, Nevada, and Louisiana require it. The state’s commissioning bureau within the Secretary of State’s office provides all the guidance necessary in scheduling and pursuing the state examination.

Maintaining Your Phlebotomy Technician Certification

A phlebotomy technician must keep their certification up to date at all times. The vast majority of the boarding institutions require phlebotomy re-certification every year or two. Re-certification is usually done by paying a fee of around 100 dollars, continuing education, and participating in a few phlebotomy training classes to keep up with recent scientific developments.

However, the phlebotomy re-certification policy differs from one institution to another. It’s important to understand it before registering as it will affect your phlebotomy career and job outlook. Some organizations will require a re-examination at one of their testing sites, while others will provide you with just an online training program info about recent medical advancements.

Find Employment

Phlebotomist technician job prospects are increasing by 23% in the 2018-2028 decade, which, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, is one of the fastest-growing industries.

Blood tests are indispensable, used in 80% of diagnosis, research, and medical procedures. Studying cancers, viral infections, and many others require taking blood by a phlebotomy tech.

The first step candidates need to follow to find employment is to compile an error-free Curriculum Vitae (CV) or resume with their high school diploma or GED education, past job experiences, employers, certifications, and any other relevant information. Secondly, the phlebotomist candidate must compile a list with all the hospitals, laboratories, clinics, imaging centers in their zip code. Search in newspapers, online, at job placement agencies, career counselors, and even though phlebotomy certification institutions that often have job employment programs. Call the desired workplaces and inquire about the job description and specific eligibility requirements.

How To Become A Phlebotomist – Sample Interview Questions

Q: What are the risks of a blood or plasma donation?

A: The phlebotomist must be aware that donating blood might weaken or nauseate the donor, and that the saline substance can cause adverse reactions.

Q: Do you have experience in labeling?

A: The phlebotomist must be aware of the consequences of mislabeling and present a systematic method of vial identification and transportation.

Q: How do you prevent the formation of a hematoma when drawing blood?

A: Although a hematoma is not life-threatening, the ideal phlebotomist must avoid far vein piercing, remove the tourniquet before exiting the needle, and have a steady hand.

Q: How do you manage fearful patients?

A: Kids are often nervous, but an experienced phlebotomist is capable of reassuring them through procedure explanation, distraction, and maintaining a calm demeanor.