How to Become a Phlebotomist in the District of Columbia

A phlebotomist plays an important role in the field of healthcare. This professional is responsible for drawing blood samples from patients. A phlebotomist must be understanding, diligent and dedicated to improving his or her skills. Some phlebotomists work in hospitals while others work in physicians’ offices, diagnostic laboratories, clinics and even in blood banks. The following offers a look at the training required to become a phlebotomist in the District of Columbia as well as some of the typical job duties and average salary of this professional.

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Educational and Training Requirements

A phlebotomist who wants to work in the District of Columbia must have a high school diploma. The person must also participate in training to receive certification as a phlebotomist. During training, a student learns the practical skills necessary to work as a phlebotomist as well as the skills needed to interact with patients. A student also learns the safety procedures connected with this profession. In addition to the training, most phlebotomists learn a lot of valuable skills while on the job. In short, the more experience a phlebotomist gets with drawing blood, the more effective he or she is at the job.

Is Certification Required for Phlebotomists?

Certification is a requirement for a phlebotomist working in the District of Columbia. In the past, phlebotomists learned their vocation while on the job. Today, medical facilities want to hire a phlebotomist who has been trained and holds professional certification. By hiring a certified phlebotomist, a medical facility is taking the necessary steps to avoid lawsuits and other issues that may occur as a result of hiring an unskilled phlebotomist.

How Can a Phlebotomist Become Certified?

A person can become certified as a phlebotomist by contacting the National Phlebotomy Association to arrange to take an exam prep course. This course prepares the person to take the National Phlebotomy Board Examination. A person must pass this exam to become nationally certified as a phlebotomist.

Job Duties of a Phlebotomist

The main job duty of a phlebotomist working in the District of Columbia is to draw blood from patients. A phlebotomist is responsible for explaining each step of the procedure to a patient. In addition, a phlebotomist labels blood samples and makes sure they are delivered to the laboratory or other facility where they will be analyzed. A phlebotomist may see dozens of patients a day or just a few. The amount of patients seen by this professional depends on where he or she works as well as how many patients visit the facility. A phlebotomist is also responsible for filling out the proper paperwork relating to the blood draw.

Salary of Phlebotomist

Phlebotomists who plan to work in the District of Columbia should know that the average annual salary for this profession is $29,730 (Bureau of Labor Statistics). Of course, a phlebotomist can earn a higher salary by acquiring years of experience and garnering additional training. Phlebotomists can also earn a higher salary if he or she works in a supervisory position. For instance, a large hospital may have a staff of phlebotomists and needs one person to make assignments and oversee the work of staff members.

What Medical Tasks Are Phlebotomists Legally Allowed to Do?

A phlebotomist is only allowed by law to draw blood from a patient. A phlebotomist doesn’t analyze samples or offer any medical opinions to patients. Also, a phlebotomist is not involved in the treatment of a patient.

Continuing Education for Phlebotomists

A phlebotomist who wants to have a long career in the District of Columbia should continue to learn about his or her vocation. For instance, the Center for Phlebotomy Education has resources such as books, articles and workshops that help enhance the knowledge of a phlebotomist. A phlebotomist who wants to continue to add to his or her skills can take online courses that offer information on interacting with patients, practicing calming techniques and labeling samples in an efficient way. It is also helpful for a phlebotomist to learn about any new technology developing in the field.

Finally, working as a phlebotomist can be rewarding both personally and professionally. This growing field in need of more trained and dedicated professionals in the District of Columbia.