A job as a phlebotomist can be highly rewarding. A phlebotomist will meet new people of all ages daily. This article will give potential phlebotomists all the information about the phlebotomist job description, including job duties, training, necessary qualifications and skills, working hours, and job prospects.
Simply put, a phlebotomist draws blood from patients, as well as other types of samples. He or she must practice proper patient identification, properly label vials with patient information, and transport specimen samples to the laboratory for testing.
Job Overview: What Does a Phlebotomist Do?
Not only do phlebotomists take blood and other types of samples from patients, they also study the collected samples and report to the referring doctor. Phlebotomists often determine cell counts and blood types, then record the findings on to medical records.
The average salary of a phlebotomist is of $30,617 a year. A phlebotomist can expect to work in a number of places: a hospital, clinic, doctor’s office, or lab. The exact salary depends on which place the prospect ends up working.
Phlebotomist Job Duties
- Collects blood or other samples from patients.
- Labels vials with the proper patient name.
- Decides the best method for drawing blood from patients.
- Practices proper infection caution procedures while taking blood and transporting blood to the lab.
- Deals with patients who might not be at their best.
Phlebotomist Job Essential Skills
Stamina. Phlebotomists should expect to be on their feet for hours at a time; lots of walking and prolonged standing are involved in this job.
Technical Skills. The phlebotomist job description mentioned the ability to successfully use the machinery required to test specimen samples.
Compassion. Phlebotomists will encounter people who have a phobia of needles, may have been in a traumatic accident, or may be in a great deal of pain. They must be very conscientious when dealing with people who are not at their best.
Dexterity. A steady hand is needed, as phlebotomists work with needles to draw blood.
Attention to Detail. Patients must be identified correctly, and doctors’ orders are to be fulfilled precisely. A phlebotomist is expected to be organized and efficient.
Becoming a Phlebotomist
While some phlebotomists may have a bachelor’s degree in medical technology, typical candidates enter a non-degree phlebotomy program. These programs are usually available at community colleges or vocational/technical schools.
Qualifications and Training
Phlebotomist programs take less than a year to complete, and successful completion will result in certification as a phlebotomist. Some phlebotomists are trained on-the-job, provided they have obtained a high school diploma or GED.
Four major organizations offer certification for phlebotomists: the National Center for Competency Testing, the National Healthcare Association, the American Society for Clinical Pathology, and the American Medical Technologists organization.
The certification process usually includes a written exam and successful demonstration of the ability to draw blood. While most hospitals, labs, and doctor’s offices desire a phlebotomist candidate who is certified, only California, Nevada, Washington, and Louisiana require all phlebotomists to be certified.
Virtually no facility will hire a phlebotomist without some work experience – many jobs require at least one year of work experience before considering a potential candidate’s application. Newly graduated and certified phlebotomist students may find volunteer programs the perfect solution to get the experience that leads to a successful full-time position as a phlebotomist.
The Red Cross offers a Blood Drive Volunteer program. The same organization also offers a hospital volunteer program for fledging phlebotomists. The Veteran’s Administration also offers a volunteer program for phlebotomists.
Phlebotomists who work in a clinic or doctor’s office should see regular hours set during the daytime, corresponding with the office hours of the building. However, phlebotomists who work in a hospital or a lab should expect to work any schedule, including nights, weekends, or holidays. Hospitals may require extra hours of their phlebotomists as well, especially during the holiday season.
Job Outlook & Advancement Opportunities
Phlebotomy is a growing occupation. In fact, employment in this area is expected to grow by twenty-five percent between 2014 and 2024, when compared to other possible occupations. All hospitals, medical laboratories, and clinics will continue to need blood analysis, and the demand for phlebotomists will remain high, reflecting the need for the job phlebotomists perform.
Because of health insurance reform and the requirement of all American citizens to have health insurance, the job outlook for a phlebotomist is steady and rising. While all phlebotomists are expected to be in high demand, doctors and hospitals are especially seeking phlebotomists who are certified by the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT), the National Healthcareer Association (NHA), the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP), and the American Medical Technologists (AMT) organization.
The lowest salary earned by a phlebotomist is $19,995 per year, and the highest salary is $43,868. While phlebotomists do not necessarily see advancement opportunities in their particular job field, they often use phlebotomy training as a stepping stone in other medical-related jobs.
Many phlebotomists go on to become registered nurses; some even go on to become doctors. One common advancement is moving on to become a medical assistant. Medical assistants who can draw blood and run tests on blood are in high demand. Some phlebotomists eventually become pharmaceutical marketing representatives or sales representatives for medical supply companies.
Phlebotomists often find great satisfaction in working with patients. They use compassion and the skills in the phlebotomist job description to draw and test patient samples, while making a fair salary depending on their experience and workplace. Phlebotomists can be trained in less than a year, and use their certification and education in order to move on to other careers in the healthcare field.