Phlebotomists are specially trained technicians who draw blood for medical testing, donation, or analysis. Learn about the requirements to start a phlebotomist career, including what training and certification you need.
What Can I Expect in a Phlebotomist Career?
A phlebotomist is a medical technician who accurately and safely draws blood and collects samples from patients and donors, either for storage or analysis. In doing so, phlebotomists apply a tourniquet to the upper arm, locate the target vein, insert the needle, extract the appropriate amount of blood depending upon the requested blood tests, then apply pressure and secure cotton to the withdrawal area. They label the blood sample vials, properly dispose of used needles and appropriately store specimens.
Phlebotomists need to know how much blood is needed for the various tests, which tests require the addition of additives, what those substances are, and how much to use.
Depending upon the specific job, phlebotomists may be required to perform additional tasks, such as taking vital signs, updating patient records, sterilizing equipment, and/or transporting the samples to a laboratory or other place.
How to Start a Phlebotomist Career
At the minimum, a high school diploma is required for a phlebotomist career. In addition, several states require that phlebotomists be certified. Certification is offered through associations that include the National Crediting Agency for Laboratory Personnel, the American Society for Clinical Pathology, and The American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians, each mandating different training and experience standards. Certification requires a semester- or year-long course through an accredited phlebotomist training program.
Phlebotomists work in various places, including hospitals, health clinics, physician offices, laboratories, blood banks, and U.S. armed forces and care facilities. Phlebotomists often take courses and training on safety, new techniques, research, and other topics to continue their education.
The Following Schools Provide Educational Programs For Phlebotomist Careers: