How to Become A Phlebotomist – A Simple Guide


Phlebotomy is the study of blood-letting. Therefore a phlebotomist is a person who draws blood in hospitals and clinics so that tests can be performed on the samples. It is possible to attain a certification in phlebotomy if you have a high school degree or higher educational qualifications. Listed below are the steps that need to be followed in order to become a licensed phlebotomist in the United States.


Attend a Phlebotomy Technician Certification Course

Phlebotomy technician courses can be as short as three months long or can last up to one year depending on which type of program you decide to attend. Many courses are offered for both full time and part time students. They are designed to make sure that students are prepared to take a certification exam such as the one instituted by the American Society of Clinical Pathology.

Each course will teach students what they need to know about the functions of the human body. There will be strong focus on teaching practical medical language so that students are able to understand what is being spoken about in a clinic, laboratory or hospital setting. They will teach students how to draw blood from people of different age groups. In fact, you will get to practice your blood drawing technique on your instructors and fellow students so that you are absolutely prepared for the real thing. Lab safety techniques, order of draw procedure and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) are also important components of Phlebotomy technician courses.


Gaining Experience

When the in-class course work has been completed, there should also be some practical, hands-on training inside an actual clinic. This is known as an externship. An externship is a required period of supervised practice that is performed away from the institution that handles the phlebotomy technician course. Externship work is to be presided over by a licensed phlebotomist who is tasked with completing reports on a student and sending feedback to the school. This is basically a form of apprenticeship where the course participants can learn from a skilled professional. It is possible that an externship is paid, though this is not always the case; however, any payment is usually at a lower rate than a licensed phlebotomist.  Even if the externship is unpaid, if you work hard and perform your duties adequately, the clinic or hospital may offer you a job. Students are not permitted to begin an externship until they have been fully trained in CPR techniques.


Starting A Phlebotomy Career

After passing your certification test, you are now a licensed phlebotomist. Phlebotomy is a rapidly growing career and phlebotomists are required in many hospitals, labs and clinics in all locations.

While phlebotomy is not the most lucrative profession in medicine, it does give you many options and opportunities for advancement. Becoming a certified phlebotomist actually exempts you from needing certain qualifications and enables you to take further medical courses such as EMT training and medical assistance. Phlebotomist’s salaries vary based on location but the median salary that can be expected in the United States is about $30,591 per year.