How Long Does It Take To Become A Phlebotomist?

Phlebotomist Overview

Phlebotomy is a science that envolves collecting blood samples through a process called venipuncture. The technicians responsible for performing venipunctures are called phlebotomists. They are trained and certified medical professionals that are responsible for drawing and collecting blood samples used for transfusion and testing. Because phlebotomy is a skilled science, phlebotomists are required to undergo rigorous training and need to acquire appropriate on-the-job training and certification.

The actual time it takes depends on two factors:

  • If you have been trained in the field by a medical professional (on-the-job training).
  • If you have no field training, but have completed a phlebotomy training  course and have obtained a certified phlebotomist license.

If you are not licensed but have been under the supervision and training of a medical professional in the field, you must have been working full-time as a phlebotomist for a minimum of six (6) months in most states. If you have been employed as a part-time phlebotomist, then the minimum requirement is usually one (1) year.

If you have no field experience but have completed a phlebotomy program course (which usually takes around four (4) months at an accredited school or college), then the certification requires that you have a minimum of two hundred (200) hours of practice and a minimum of 100 successful venipunctures (blood draws).

Duties and Responsibilities of a Phlebotomist

A phlebotomist has a number of daily duties and responsibilities. Some of the basic ones are:

  • Preparing the patient prior to blood extraction.
  • Collecting blood and other body fluids from the patient.
  • Making sure that the instruments used in blood collection are sterile.
  • Ensuring that blood is collected from the right person, right location and the right manner.
  • Making certain that all collected blood samples are marked correctly, indicating the patient’s name or number to avoid confusion.
  • Doing proper documentation, follow-up and referral to the Physician.

Its important to understand that phlebotomists play an important role in the diagnoses process of a patient. Proper handling and labeling is absolutely critical.

Variable Educational Requirements

The specific educational requirements vary depending on one’s geographical location. In the United States, phlebotomists are required to undergo just about six months to one year of training either in a trade school or career center. A year of study on subjects like Anatomy, patient interaction, Standard Precautions, as well as the legalities and techniques of blood collection are required. After compliance with the training period, the person is obliged to take an examination and successfully pass it for Phlebotomy Certification and License – especially in California. But some states do not require a state license in order for a phlebotomist to practice. Credible institutions that grant licenses to phlebotomists are the National Phlebotomy Association, Association of Phlebotomy Technicians and the American Society for Clinical Pathology.

However, prior to all these, a soon-to-be phlebotomist in the United States should be able to meet the following criteria:

  • At least a high school graduate
  • Has the ability to follow simple instructions and procedures
  • Can handle body fluids such as blood without distress

Australia does not require precise educational pre-requisites for a person to undergo training. However, good language skills related to Australia’s culture is needed. It would also be an advantage if a person possesses a background as a laboratory or medical technician. The training duration would range between courses of one day to six weeks.

The United Kingdom, just like Australia, does not require certain qualifications in order for one to enroll in a training course. UK healthcare employers are still following the on-the-job training principle. Nevertheless, the current trend nowadays is for a person to acquire structured practice and learning by attending and participating in theory classes as well as in laboratory classes.

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