How To Become a Phlebotomnist in Pennsylvania

What is a Phlebotomist?
A phlebotomist is a skilled medical technician who draws blood from patients for testing,transfusions,or donations. The little prick the phlebotomist makes with the needle is called a venipuncture.

Importance of a Phlebotomist
Since blood samples are often used in the diagnosis of certain diseases,the task of a phlebotomist is crucial. Anyone who has ever had a blood test knows how important these workers are. They need to know how to fill the vials of blood and label them so that the proper information may be obtained by the laboratory. The phlebotomist takes blood through the veins, usually in the arms or wrists in order to reduce pain. The blood of an infant is usually taken in the heel. The phlebotomists must exercise caution to protect themselves and their patients from being exposed to blood borne diseases. When involved in blood drives, they must draw,test, catalog, and store thousands of samples.

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What training is necessary?
As a phlebotomist you must possess a high school diploma or a GED, pass a background check, and have all your immunizations up to date. High school courses in biology, math, and chemistry are helpful for future training,if you are planning ahead of time to become a phlebotomist. There are many schools available to train you as a phlebotomist. The training, which usually takes six months to complete,includes classroom instruction and hands on training opportunities to actually draw blood from patients. A typical list of courses includes medical terminology, human anatomy, physiology, and phlebotomy procedures. Such procedures consist of finding the right vein to use for the draw, inserting the needle in the vein, drawing the blood, and transporting it to the laboratory. The hands on training, which may involve several weeks practices the procedures learned in class. The practice work will require you to perform a certain number of blood draws on actual patients.

What is certification?
After graduation from an accredited school, you may seek employment. However,most
employers require certification. The minimum requirements for certification include 40 hours of classroom instruction and 100 skin punctures. A certification exam may be scheduled through the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP), the National Phlebotomy Association (NPA), or the Association of Phlebotomy Technicians(ASPT).These three organizations are recognized in Pennsylvania. A state certificate is only required in California, Washington, Nevada,and Louisiana. The requirement for certification in each association is slightly different. The ASCP requires 40 hours of training, with 120 hands on hours, and 100 unaided blood draws. The ASPT requires training involving 100 documented draws, five skin punctures, and becoming a member. The NPA requires a practical internship composed of 160 classroom hours.

Phlebotomnist Salary in Pennsylvania
Phlebotomy is a growing career, especially with Americans growing older. The number of jobs is expected to grow by 27% over the next ten years. The median salary is around $30,000 a year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the demand for technicians will grow by 15% through 2020. With an estimated vacancy rate of 7.91%, the demand must continue in order to keep pace.

Continuing Education
While the educational requirements are not that demanding in this field, there is an opportunity to obtain an associate degree in phlebotomy with the possibility of advancement and a higher salary. Cross-training, an opportunity to train for certification in other related medical fields, is another rewarding option. The more areas in which you are certified could mean promotion and increase in salary. The APT offers continuing education in many areas,and even has a mandatory requirement for additional training to maintain certification.

The Availability of Training in Pennsylvania
Finding training for a phlebotomist can be divided into three options. The first option is to take a course geared toward certification, which takes up to a year of training. You may be required to take an exam for certification in order to find employment. The cost for this type of training ranges from $700 to $1400. Many schools in Pennsylvania offer this training, including Community College of Philadelphia and Bucks County Community College, and many medical technical schools. The second option is to obtain an associate degree in phlebotomy from a community college. This degree program of two years prepares you for additional medical professions, such as EKG technician. Schools offering the degree include Bucks Community College of Newton, Pa,Community College of Allegheny County, and Harrisburg Area Community College. Qualified students may be eligible for financial aid. The third option is an online course which takes a few months, but requires practical training at a local hospital or clinic before completion. The costs usually range from $300 to $700. Some schools offering online training include Devry, Kaplan, and Herzing Universities.