Is Phlebotomy Certification Right For You?

Wondering whether going through with a phlebotomy training program is right for you?  Phlebotomists are skilled healthcare workers that interact with patients without the stresses associated with being a doctor or nurse. Phlebotomists draw blood for analysis, the results of which doctors use as an important diagnostic tool. Like all healthcare workers, becoming a phlebotomist requires a solid education. Becoming a phlebotomist means learning and understanding human anatomy and physiology, blood collection techniques, safety protocols, first aid and CPR.

Becoming a phlebotomist begins with high school. Phlebotomists must possess a high school diploma or equivalent. Phlebotomists then complete a phlebotomy training program. Phlebotomy certification programs are offered through colleges, some hospitals, online, career and vocational schools. There are three types of phlebotomy programs: certificate, associate, and bachelor’s degrees. Certificate training programs are the most common among students with the intention of becoming a phlebotomist. Certificate programs last 12 weeks to one year and cost $1500 to $3000 to complete. Associate and bachelorÔø?s degrees require two to four years and cost five to ten times more than certificate programs. People interested in becoming a phlebotomist should be careful to select a program that has been recognized by the United states Department of Education, the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Standards (NAACLS), or similar agencies. Recognized or accredited programs meet the standards and guidelines set by two important institutes, the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Becoming a phlebotomist does not end upon graduation from a training program. Certification is the next step in becoming a phlebotomist. Although not required by law of practicing phlebotomists, except in California and Louisiana, many employers will not hire non-certified phlebotomists. Possession of certification indicates that the phlebotomist is thoroughly knowledgeable with collection procedures and techniques as well as safety procedures and protocols. Certification is granted through ten nationally recognized certifying agencies. These agencies include the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP), the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT), and the National Phlebotomy Association (NPA). Phlebotomists must apply for certification (which can be submitted online) then successfully complete a standardized exam.

Those interested in a career in the healthcare industry should consider becoming a phlebotomist. There is definitely an employment demand, as the healthcare industry is constantly growing due to an aging general public. In fact, the United states Bureau of Labor predicts a 14% increase in employment opportunities from 2006 to 2016. Phlebotomists earn an average hourly wage of $12.84 and an average yearly salary of $26,710. Many employers offer employee benefits to phlebotomists, including vacation, paid sick days and access to healthcare and retirement plans.

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