Healthcare technicians are needed at all levels and in all fields of medicine. Training as a specialist in one field will often give you a foot up for cross training in another. For example, you will need anatomy and physiology classes regardless of your specialty. If the sight of blood makes you faint, a career in phlebotomy is probably not for you. If it does not, then training as a phlebotomy technician can bring you job security and a rewarding profession in relatively little time.
Though every job offers its own employment package, and, as in all jobs, geographical area influences pay scale, phlebotomy technicians can expect to earn beginning salaries of $25,000, with increases based on experience. This amount can double as they gain experience.
To qualify for a phlebotomy certification program you need only a GED or high school diploma. The program will teach you all the rest of what you need to know including medical terminology, computer technology, anatomy, physiology, and phlebotomy skills and procedures. Training can be done online or in the classroom with additional supervised clinical practice hours. Depending on your background, most programs can be completed in two semesters, or one year. If you already have prior training as a nurse or other healthcare provider, phlebotomy certification can be much faster.
Performing a venipuncture and collecting blood samples are the phlebotomist’s primary responsibilities. Along with that are they need to follow strict adherence to protocol and ensure correct labeling and patient care. Sometimes a patient will present with special needs and it is up to the phlebotomist to determine the best veins to use for the puncture.
You will know how to feel the difference between an artery and a thrombosed vein and how to force blood into a vein by massaging the arm. Finding the right vein at the right site for the puncture while keeping the individual patient calm and comfortable are skills that take time and practice. Often, phlebotomists begin their careers on a part-time basis just so they can rack up the experience before jumping in with both feet.
Collecting blood specimens from babies is usually done through the heel. Checking a diabetic’s glucose levels can often be done with a finger prick. Learning how to collect from different patients is one part of a phlebotomist’s training. Learning the meaning of the different tubes and their color coding is another part. Needle size and type will be determined by the amount of blood to be collected. There are many details to learn which are necessary to build your confidence so that you can professionally handle any patient that walks through your door.
Whether you already know that becoming a phlebotomy technician is right for you, or you want to begin your healthcare technician career somewhere, phlebotomy is a well rounded, well grounded education to obtain. Modern medicine cannot be practiced without knowledge of blood and blood sampling. Phlebotomists are critical to our everyday healthcare maintenance.