How to Become a Phlebotomist in Utah

In today’s economy, health care offers some of the best-paying jobs that often require training programs of one year or less. One of the fastest-growing jobs within health care is a phlebotomist, which is a medical technician who draws blood from patients to conduct medical tests, use in transfusions or to store as donor blood to be used later on. Offering excellent pay and benefits along with good working conditions, many people are turning to this career as an option for secure employment. For those residents of Utah who desire to become phlebotomists, there are several steps that must be followed.

Requirements for Phlebotomist
Virtually all phlebotomy training programs require students to graduate from high school or possess a GED. Training programs are offered at local community colleges, technical and vocational schools and by health care facilities such as hospitals or blood donation centers. Training can usually be completed within one year, although some schools offer programs that take only six months of full-time study to complete. Students in these programs have a combination of classroom study and clinical experiences, where they are able to apply what they learn in the classroom to real-world situations. Classes offered in these programs include human anatomy and physiology, medical records documentation, medical office procedures and more. In the clinical internships, students are trained under the supervision of an experienced phlebotomist. During the internship, they learn how to properly draw blood, label and store samples, record information on patient medical records and in computerized databases and maintain equipment in a safe manner.

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Phlebotomy Technician Certification
Once they have completed a training program, phlebotomists are eligible to sit for a national certification exam. This exam consists of a written exam and practical exam, where the student must demonstrate their ability to properly draw blood from patients, document the procedure, maintain a safe work environment and properly handle all equipment associated with their job. The exam is generally taken after a student has six months of work experience, although more students today are opting to take the exam immediately after finishing school. The exam is administered by several different organizations including the American Society for Clinical Pathology, National Phlebotomy Association and American Council of Phlebotomists. Upon passing the exam, students are given the designation of Certified Phlebotomist. While certification is not mandatory, more and more employers expect students to have it prior to being hired.

Phlebotomist Job Duties
The daily duties of a phlebotomist can vary, but the most common ones include drawing blood from patients, labeling samples and making sure they get to the proper facility for testing, maintaining instruments including needles and test tubes for use with patients and using proper medical terminology to document the procedure. Phlebotomists are mostly employed in hospitals, nursing homes and doctor’s offices but may also find employment with blood donation centers and organizations such as the American Red Cross, which conducts blood drives on a regular basis. In addition to having the technical skills needed for the job, there are several personality traits a person needs to possess to be an excellent phlebotomist. Perhaps the most important attribute is the ability to get along well with others, since the phlebotomist often works one-on-one with patients of all ages, cultures and backgrounds. Excellent communication skills are also needed, since they are responsible for explaining the procedure they are doing on the patient and must be able to establish a good rapport to put people at ease. Compassion is also needed, since many people are scared at the idea of being stuck with a needle.

Job Outlook
Job opportunities for phlebotomists are expected to grow much faster than the national average for most jobs, with the next decade projecting job growth in excess of 25 percent. Salaries are also excellent, with the average salary approaching $30,000 annually. Most jobs will still be available in hospitals and doctor’s offices, although more jobs are expected to open up in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities as the U.S. population continues to age. As they gain experience, some phlebotomists advance to supervisory positions or return to school and pursue degrees to become medical technologists.

Phlebotomy Schools in Utah
Residents of Utah have several choices of schools that offer phlebotomy training. Some of the best known include Salt Lake Community College, Davis Applied Technology College, Dixie State University and Ogden-Weber Applied Technology College. All of these schools offer programs leading to national certification, with many also offering assistance with job placement. Each school combines classroom study with practical clinical experience, making sure students have a solid foundation of training before entering the workforce.

For those people looking for a way to enter the health care profession without having to spend years in school, phlebotomy is an excellent career choice. With excellent pay, benefits and opportunities for advancement it allows students the opportunity to better themselves while also helping others.