Becoming a PhlebotomistAdmin, phlebotomytrainingorganization.com Monday, 21st January 2013 @09:15am
Those of you who have considered entering the healthcare field quickly learned that it's not as easy as going to school and putting on some scrubs. There are literally dozens of career paths you can choose from, each offering you an opportunity to have varying levels of hands-on patient contact or the chance to work in administration. Entry level positions, especially those in phlebotomy, offer great opportunities for individuals to train, enter the workforce, and either continue along their chosen path or continue working while going to school.
Understanding the Field of Phlebotomy
The field of phlebotomy, at first glance, seems relatively simplistic. Phlebotomists, also known as phlebotomy technicians, are tasked with the job of collecting the blood samples that are used in laboratory medical tests. While it may seem simple to collect blood samples, the job is so much more. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Today's phlebotomist must be aware of the types of tests required, the importance of timing of blood collections in some instances, medication(s) that the patient is taking that could interfere with testing, and the effects of diet on the patient's specimen.”
While most phlebotomists will collect blood samples, some will also be asked to collect other types of specimens for testing as well. These include but aren't limited to urine and fecal matter. More advanced phlebotomists may be required to perform some minor testing procedures such as time tests, or point-of-care testing such as INR tests for patients on certain blood thinners.
Bloodwork makes a huge difference to every patient. Some are simply being monitored while others are being tested for specific conditions and diseases. In many cases, such as with prostate cancer or heart disease, the early detection associated with bloodwork can save lives. Some phlebotomists run clinical lab tests while others work with blood donors at local drives.
Entering the Field of Phlebotomy
Those interested in entering the field of phlebotomy must first complete a phlebotomy training program. There are several different types of programs available and you'll find yourself choosing between college programs and technical school programs. The major difference between the two is in the length of time it will take you to complete your program. If you're going to a college, you may end up in a certification program alone or you may end up taking your courses as part of your 2-year degree program. If you end up at a technical school, you'll be trained much faster, often in as little as 6 months.
Regardless of the program type you choose, you must be at least 18 years old to enter the field. You must also have a high school diploma or GED. Throughout the duration of your courses you will learn about patient interaction, lab safety, the legal issues surrounding blood draws, how to draw blood correctly, and quite a bit about medical interactions, anatomy, and physiology. You'll spend your time split between classroom lectures and hands-on training.
After you've completed your coursework, you'll need to obtain your phlebotomy certification or license, as mandated by your state. There are three main certification organizations you'll go through for your testing and certification process – the American Medical Technologists (AMT), the American Association of Medical Personnel, or the American Society of Clinical Pathologists. Ech organization has its own set of testing guidelines regarding your training before testing. At the end of the day, though, you're going to find that employers really want to see certifications from one of these accredited groups, especially from AMT.
Many have questioned the safety of the field, especially with concerns regarding needlestick injuries and blood borne diseases and illnesses. According to Dark Daily, newer devices have decreased the odds of phlebotomists and lab workers receiving needlestick injuries , making the field safer than ever before.
Your Career Outlook after Phlebotomist Training
Your success as a phlebotomist hinges on a number of different factors. Your education, certification, and overall resume will – combined with your interview skills – ultimately play a huge role in the type of job you land. You'll have to decide if you want to work in a small physician's office, in a medical lab environment, or in a larger hospital environment. These factors, as well as your geographic location, will dictate what opportunities are available and the amount of money you ultimately make.
According the United States Department of Labor and Bureau of Labor Statistics , which classifies phlebotomists under their Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technologists and Technicians category, the average annual salary for a laboratory technician was approximately $36,000 per year in 2010. They indicate that the “employment of medical laboratory technologists is expected to grow by 110 percent between 2010 and 2020, about as fast as average for all occupations.” This means it should be relatively easy for you to find work upon graduation as demand for those with phlebotomy training slowly rises.
The average median salary for a phlebotomist really depends, like we noted, on your experience and where you work. The American Society for Clincal Pathology shows numbers that are slightly different from the BLS. As of their last wage study, conducted in 2009, you can expect to earn approximately $27,000 per year, or $13 per hour. This is still nothing to sneeze at if you are an entry level employee, but also offers a $10,000 difference in the median estimate. Your best bet, before you even begin training, is to look around at some of the current job offers in your area so that you can determine what your geographic average earning potential really is.
It doesn't matter if you're new to the workforce or if you're looking for a change of pace. Choosing to obtain phlebotomy training will quickly prove one of the best decisions in your professional life. You'll have the opportunity to help others, be a part of the process, and work towards advanced career opportunities as you gain experience. There aren't many better ways to enter the healthcare field – guaranteed.