Phlebotomy technicians draw blood samples and prepare them for blood testing or any other procedure. The demand for this profession is high, so employment opportunities are quite plenty and easy to come by for those with the right qualifications. Opportunities are especially abundant in hospitals, blood banks, private clinics, blood laboratories, nursing homes, and other institutions that require blood collection.
Phlebotomy Technician Education and Training
Accredited phlebotomy programs for aspiring phlebotomy technicians usually require a semester to a year to be completed, earning the students a diploma or certificate. These programs usually include anatomy and physiology, blood sampling procedures, blood and cell composition, and laboratory safety.
Hands-on training programs also take up basic venipuncture techniques, fingerstick methods for patients with hard-to-find or damaged veins, butterfly techniques for children and older patients with small veins, and capillary puncture for newborn patients.
Phlebotomy programs also include lab equipment handling skills, as well as cleaning up spills for safety against infection and other sorts of harm. Some even cover CPR certification.
Phlebotomy Technician Certifications
For those who are interested in getting certified as a phlebotomy technician, there are three major certifying bodies in the US for this profession, including the American Society for Clinical Pathology, the National Phlebotomy Association, and the Association of Phlebotomy Technicians.
The American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) can certify individuals without past medical experience, although they require a high school diploma or GED, 40 classroom hours, 120 hours of hands-on training, and 100 successful blood collections, without assistance from anybody else.
Classroom training covers physiology, anatomy, specimen collection, circulatory system, specimen processing and handling, and lab operations.
The ASCP also requires the laboratory where students are going to serve as interns to adhere to the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendment of 1988.
The National Phlebotomy Association (NPA) requires students who want to get a certification from them to have at least one year of experience as a phlebotomist. Otherwise, they require students to complete a phlebotomy training program. The program must cover venipuncture techniques, hands-on internship, and 160 hours of classroom training.
The Association of Phlebotomy Technicians (ASPT) requires students with no work experience to complete and accredited phlebotomy training program, 5 successful skin punctures, 100 successful venipunctures, and a current APT membership.
What to Expect for Those Without a Certification
Individuals who completed a phlebotomy training program but who have not taken or passed a certification exam can still work as phlebotomists. They can still perform the same tasks as the certified techs and gain experience from it. With more experience, they might qualify as a candidate for certification. Even without a certification, they can still find a job as a phlebotomy technician and earn their certification later. This is ideal for those who want to start working right away after finding an employer who is comfortable with taking inexperienced techs. This is the usual scenario in large hospitals in busy cities that often experience shortage in phlebotomists.
Additional Training for phlebotomy technicians
Phlebotomy technicians can level up with their certification, as they can pursue the title of Donor Phlebotomy Technician (DPT). This prepares them for work at blood collection sites. This certification also provides phlebotomy techs more career opportunities. To earn the certification as a DPT, they need additional hours of training and passing an exam designed to test their ability to work with blood donors.