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What degree do I need to become a Phlebotomist?

blood-20745_640Would you like to suck blood for a living? Wait – back up. That didn’t come out right. Have you ever considered becoming a Phlebotomist? Yes, they are into blood, because, well, that’s how you diagnose individual’s health and wellness. But they are definitely not vampires. They certainly don’t drink the blood, and unlike vampires, actually work much better in a well-lit room. No word on whether or not they sparkle.

But, yes, you will need to have the stomach for this career. Phlebotomy is not easy. You don’t become a Phlebotomist by being bitten by one; it requires thorough training to find vessels and draw blood. If you think this is for you, you’ll have a great opportunity to serve and help people find their health answers through this diagnostic testing.

Education

Phlebotomists tend to get their education from a Phlebotomy program at a community college or technical school. These programs typically take less than 1 year to finish and lead to a certificate or a diploma. Students will have to take a round of basic science classes such as anatomy, physiology and medical terminology.

To get certification, you’ll need some real-world clinical experience; after all, nobody wants to be your first patient without any practice. Usually the phlebotomy program will help you set that up.

Licenses and Certifications

Employees will almost always hire those whom have been through a standard Phlebotomy program and have achieved certification from one of the current organizations offering them:

All three of these organizations offer a Phlebotomy Technician certification. Certifications require classroom education as well as proof of some clinical experience. Requirements vary state to state.

Job expectations

Phlebotomist are part of a greater health team. They have to have precision when drawing blood; they sometimes encounter individuals with very difficult-to-find veins and they must know the protocol for completing the task.

Phlebotomist often handle labeling, verifying, identifying patients and their blood being processed, so you’ll need to be detail-oriented and organized. They calm nerves of patients (plenty of people are nervous about having blood drawn, so a calm demeanor and sense of humor are pretty important), and maintain all the medical instruments used in the testing such as needles, vials and test tubes.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 40% of Phlebotomist work in hospitals, 26% in diagnostic labs and the rest in other health care services or physician offices.

Outlook

Drawing blood will have you drawing a consistent, healthy paycheck. Just as almost all medical field careers are seeing major growth, Phlebotomy follows on that path with an estimated growth of 27% between the years 2012-2022 as reported on the BLS website. Blood analysis is projected to remain an essential function in laboratories and hospitals. Demand is as high as other healthcare professionals. For a 1 year degree program, phlebotomy is a decent choice as the median annual salary was almost $30k in May of 2012.

 

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