Phlebotomists are medical professionals trained to draw blood from patients for various lab tests and procedures. Phlebotomists work in a variety of settings including hospitals, medical offices, clinics, blood banks and with the Red Cross travel teams. Phlebotomy is a great entryway into the medical field.
What do phlebotomists do?
Phlebotomists are trained to draw blood, but with additional training, may be able to administer injections, IV medications, set up intravenous lines and perform needed testing on the specimens. These professionals must have a wide range of knowledge in order to perform their duties. Aside from drawing blood, phlebotomists will need skills in:
- Developing rapport with patients of all ages
- Helping patients understand the processes involved with blood testing
- Alleviating stress and/or anxiety related to blood tests
- Completing necessary documentation
- Understanding and practicing all safety protocols in regard to handling blood, needles and other medical equipment including proper protective gear
- Knowing First Aid in the event of emergency
- Scheduling and handling patient phone calls
Who do phlebotomists report to?
Phlebotomists typically report to nurses or doctors on duty.
What kind of training do I need to become a phlebotomist?
Typically phlebotomists complete an associate’s degree or a certification program to reach the highest levels of success in this field. Many colleges (including as UAA, UAF and Alaska Career College) offer medical technology programs that include training for phlebotomy and courses about medical terminology, anatomy, and other related fields. Most programs also require some time in a clinical setting where you will learn with hands on experience.
Are there any prerequisites for beginning a phlebotomy program?
Most programs do not have prerequisites other than a high school diploma or GED.
How do I select a training program?
Outside of CA, there are no standards for phlebotomy schools, however the organizations that offer examinations for certification recommend that your program include:
- A classroom component of at least 40 hours and
- A clinical component with at least 50 unaided, successful blood specimen collections including both venipunctures and capillary collections.
How can I become certified?
After you complete your training, you are eligible to take the exam leading to your certification. Many organizations offer certification exams including:
- American Society of Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
- The American Credentialing Agency (ACA)
Are phlebotomists required to be certified?
No. In Alaska, as well as some other states, you do not need to be certified to work in the field of phlebotomy. However, certification allows you to apply for higher paying jobs and will provide you with more job opportunities.
Will I be required to participate in continuing education?
Yes. In order to keep your phlebotomist license in Alaska, you will be required to complete 6 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) per year. These courses provide you the opportunity to learn new techniques and changes in the field.
How much do phlebotomist’s earn?
Without a certification, you can expect to earn pay starting at approximately $9 per hour. However, with a phlebotomist certification, the average annual salary in Alaska is $35,000 – $38,000 which is higher than the national average of $31,000.
What is the career outlook for phlebotomy?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics, employment in the field of phlebotomy is expected to increase by about 27% between 2012 -2022 (much faster than average).
Phlebotomy is a dynamic field which can offer great opportunities with minimal training in the medical field.