Before you can become a phlebotomist, you need to get the proper training and credentials. Once you obtain the required skills and education, a career in phlebotomy can be rewarding both financially and emotionally. Phlebotomists generally work full-time jobs and have many other perks that come with the job including social security, a retirement fund, disability, healthcare, pensions and time off.
What is a Phlebotomist?
Phlebotomists collect, prepare and analyze blood and specimen samples and typically work as laboratory technicians. They are often requires to maintain collection areas, keep equipment in good working order, and maintain a high level of sterilization. Most of the job consists of physical activity. Phlebotomists are often required to assemble the tools and equipment necessary for procedures. This could involve the collection of blood and working with needles. They are often caught up in procedural activities such as verifying patient identity and confirmation of medical records. Phlebotomists must be accurate and trained well to prevent blood contamination and to make procedures easier on the patient.
Individuals that can’t stand the sight of blood or are afraid of needles should not attempt to become phlebotomists. The job requires a steady hand and since it involves a lot of physical activity and standing, it’s not generally recommended for people with ill health. As a phlebotomist, working with sick and injured people is common so a good attention to detail is required to prevent infection and the spread of disease.
Phlebotomist Job Duties
A typical day in the life of a phlebotomist varies depending on the type of employment obtained and level of experience. Most phlebotomists take blood samples using venipuncture, skin puncture or arterial collection. The proper labeling of samples and preparation for testing is also a crucial job responsibility. Phlebotomists may find themselves completing paperwork to document patient conditions. They also are expected to follow strict policies and procedures when handling and taking blood samples from patients. Phlebotomists must have an understanding of infection control and good sterilization practices. The ability to perform diagnostic procedures and interpret results with a high level of accuracy is crucial. Additionally, they must be able to make appropriate recommendations and be comfortable working with patients.
Degree and Certification Requirements
The National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS) acts as the accreditation authority for coursework that many employees look for when hiring candidates. Completing a program at an accredited university is the first step for those that want to gain employment as a phlebotomist. While the state of New York does not require individuals to be licensed or certified, with strong competition for jobs, it’s unlikely to get hired without the proper credentials. Additionally, higher-paying jobs within the field almost always require credentialed and licensed candidates to fill positions. Certification authorities include the National Phlebotomy Association and the American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians.
There are several organizations that individuals can get certification from, including the National Phlebotomy Association, the National Healthcare Association, American Medical Technologists, the American Certification Agency, and the American Society for Clinical Pathology. The requirements do vary by agency, but a basic prerequisite is that candidates have completed a program at an approved and accredited college, healthcare facility, or institution. Before entering a program, it’s important to find out if the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences has accredited your school. Otherwise, you may find yourself with an expensive education that limited employability.
In addition to initial training, phlebotomists are required to undergo continuing education to renew their licenses to practice. Phlebotomists that want to maintain their licensure must complete courses in blood contamination, patient injury, venipuncture, and related subjects. Coursework can be taken at local universities, college, healthcare facilities, and through special offerings provided by some employers. Many phlebotomists can take courses online or through hands-on training. Many online programs have relationships with local labs to give their students added clinical experience. Gaining certification can give you firsthand experience drawing blood, handling samples and specimens, and completely other tasks required of a phlebotomist.
Phlebotomist Salary in New York
According to Salary.com, the average salary for phlebotomists in New York averages $36,611 annually. An estimated 10 percent of phlebotomists earn less than $29,566 per year. Up to 25 percent earn less than $32,923 per year. The top 25 percent of earners bring in $40,676, while the top 10 percent of earnings bring in $44,378 per year. Of course, there are other factors that influence salary as well. Phlebotomists can expect to receive bonuses at the higher tiers of employment. Social Security accounts for an additional $2,802 average per year. Retirements funds add on an additional $1,319 per year. Disability averages out at $330 per year. For healthcare and paid time off, the value of employment is increased by approximately $6,592 for healthcare and $4,509 for paid time off respectively.