How to Become a Phlebotomist: A Step-by-Step Guide

Regardless of how you have developed an interest in becoming a phlebotomist, there is one factor you must consider before signing up for a training program.

Phlebotomy is a wonderful career, but you need to be suited to this line of work. Phlebotomy is about more than performing a medical procedure. First, a prospective phlebotomist should know he or she is comfortable dealing with blood. Many people are not. While phlebotomy procedures involve sterile, sanitary equipment, they also involve human blood. Be sure you think clearly about this, and know you will not have any problems with it. Second, a good phlebotomist is professional, yet patient, and kind. You will be dealing with human beings of all ages in a variety of situations. From people who are elderly or ill to young children, your patients will require your understanding and compassion. Your job will involve patients who are afraid of needles, patients who are frail, and patients who have life-threatening medical conditions. Having the right personality to perform phlebotomy procedures means more than knowing how to do the job correctly. It also means being able to provide the specific kind of care and attention each patient needs to get through the procedure without undue fears or reservations. Your compassionate personality is a very important asset to this job.

After you have determined you are a good match for a phlebotomy career, you are ready to learn about the training options available to you. No one method is equally right for everyone. Consider such factors as the amount of time you have to put into your training, your cost, and your personal preferences. This way, you can look at your training as a customized plan you choose to meet your needs.

One option is on the job training. If your ideal method of learning something new is with hands-on experience, this method of how to become a phlebotomist will be perfectly suited to you from the start. Many hospitals offer this option. You can check with hospitals in your area, and ask if they provide on the job training in phlebotomy. In addition to learning the techniques from an experienced supervisor, this method will also allow you to become familiar with the hospital setting where you will eventually work.

A second option is to take formal training through an accredited school. Some phlebotomy schools include a certification examination at the end of the training course, while others do not. Be sure you know whether the school you are considering offers this benefit before you sign up for a training program.

These days, distance learning programs are very popular. There are distance education schools that offer phlebotomy training programs online. Checking to make sure the school is accredited is your first step. However, there are two additional points to consider. First, online learning does not include hands-on experience. You will need to participate in an in-person internship as well. Second, full certification cannot be acquired online. You will need to take your certification exam in person.

If you live in the state of Maryland, you have a fourth option. Each month, the American Phlebotomy Association offers training workshops. Everything you need to know is covered in these two-day workshops. If you are eligible for this training program, you will be able to take the certification examination after you successfully complete the program.

After you have completed your training, certification is the next step toward your career. If you have heard of job openings for noncertified phlebotomists, you should not even consider it as a possibility. No legitimate hospital, clinic, or private physician would hire someone to perform phlebotomy procedures if the person has not earned his or her certification. The reason for this is logical. Phlebotomists work with human beings in various medical settings. For the safety of your patients, procedures must be done correctly and sterile conditions must be observed and maintained. An employer can only know you have achieved the highest level of professionalism if you have become certified.

Either before or during your training, think about the particular type of setting in which you would like to work. Finding the one best suited to you will assure you of satisfaction in your new career. For example, working in a hospital will mean everything from routine blood tests to being prepared for emergency situations. Another option is working at a facility for elderly or disabled persons. In this kind of setting, the work you do will not be as varied. There are many workplaces for phlebotomists. Choosing the one that is right for you will make your job a great experience.

From selecting a training method to becoming certified, every step in becoming a phlebotomist is personally rewarding. When you know you will be providing an important service, you know it will benefit everyone you work with as well as yourself.

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