Many schools offer training programs to become a phlebotomy technician. In order to enroll in one of these programs, you must have a GED or high school diploma and some schools may require you to be at least eighteen years old.
You also must be prepared to pass a typing test (typing speeds of more than twenty-five words per minute are the norm.) Additionally, you will need to demonstrate proficiency with Windows, Microsoft Word, and basic computer skills. Drug screening is mandatory, so expect to be tested periodically. You also must pass a criminal background check.
Working with blood can expose you to many diseases (HIV, Hepatitis, etc.) so proof of current health insurance is a requirement. You must also have up to date vaccine records (Tetanus, Diphtheria, Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Hepatitis B, and Chicken Pox). You must be able to pass a health exam, including a negative test result for tuberculosis.
Providing you can meet all of these requirements, expect to put in more than 200 hours of classroom time and over 100 hours working as an intern in a blood lab.
To graduate from a phlebotomy technician training program, you are expected to pass courses in medical terminology, CPR, human diseases, phlebotomy, advanced phlebotomy, clinical practices, and pathophysiology. A phlebotomy technician will learn how to draw blood, how to identify which blood tests are required, and run those tests and send the reports to the appropriate person. Excellent communication skills are required of any phlebotomy technician, so be prepared to take additional courses in speech, patient relationships, and work ethics if they are specific weaknesses for you.
All students are expected to pass certification exams before they can graduate. A number of organizations hold acceptable certification exams. American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians, American Society of Clinical Pathologists, American Medical Technologists, and National Phlebotomy Association are four of the best organizations.
- American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians offers exams for $55 plus an annual membership fee.
- American Society of Clinical Pathologists offers exams for $125 and an annual membership fee of $89.
- American Medical Technologists offers certification for any person working in a field involving medical technology. For their certification for Phlebotomy, the fee is $83 with an annual renewal fee of $50.
- National Phlebotomy Association offers certification for $130 with an annual renewal fee of $65.
You can become certified with as many organizations as you choose. Certification does require you to keep up with continuing education requirements, meaning you will attend seminars and advance training. This can help you receive better job promotions and a hire salary. It shows your employer and your patients that you are willing to do everything you can to give them the best care possible.
The college you choose will often pick the association of their choice. Many of these associations offer programs in which they come directly to a college setting to give the certification exams. This makes like easy for students because they will not need to rearrange their schedule for the certification exams, they are held right in the classroom.
Education is important and necessary for many jobs. You must successfully complete your phlebotomy education in order to become a phlebotomy technician. Apprenticeships are not an option.