If you’ve ever had to go to a clinic to get bloodwork done, chances are it was taken by a phlebotomy technician. A phlebotomy technician is someone who takes blood from patients for the purpose of sending the samples to a lab in order to get a diagnosis. Pursuing a career in phlebotomy is a rewarding experience, but it requires some technical knowledge and dedication to do well. Fortunately, there’s a growing demand for phlebotomy techs across the US, making it a prime market for anyone in the medical field.
Phlebotomy technicians are prized members of the medical field, being needed in not only hospitals, but clinics and blood-drives as well. Without phlebotomy technicians, there would be fewer people qualified to draw blood, and wait times in waiting rooms would be far longer. If you’re looking for careers in the medical field, then looking at becoming a phlebotomist is surely a great start.
But what is a phlebotomy tech, really? As stated above, it’s someone who draws blood, but there’s a lot of nuance to the job as well. A phlebotomy technician needs to employ a variety of skills to do their job well, in addition to having the technical know-how. This article aims to outline what it means to be a phlebotomy tech, how to go about becoming a phlebotomy technician, as well as job prospects and career outlook.
What is a Phlebotomy Technician?
As stated before, if you’ve ever had blood collected, or had to submit a urine or stool sample, then it may have been taken or handled by a phlebotomy technician. Phlebotomy technicians are responsible for collecting samples for the lab to analyze, but is most commonly blood. When a sample is finished in the lab, a phlebotomy tech is also responsible for updating the patients records. In a way, a phlebotomy tech is like a secretary with extra duties; from preparing the patient for an exam, taking samples, or recording data, a phlebotomy technician is key to ensuring the patient’s health.
Despite the description, a phlebotomy technician’s job isn’t easy; They have to employ many different skills to be able to do their job well. Some of the most prominent skills that a phlebotomist needs are customer service skills, record and bookkeeping skills, as well as the lab skills that come with getting a phlebotomy certificate. Below are these skills, outlined in detail as they pertain to the job at hand:
Most prominent skills that a phlebotomy technician needs are:
- Basic customer service skills: When dealing with a patient, it’s important to thoroughly and accurately explain to the patient what is about to happen during their procedure. Whether it’s drawing blood or taking a stool sample, the importance of explaining with accurate precision what you want the patient to do will help collect accurate results.
- Record Keeping: As stated above, a phlebotomy technician is responsible for taking the patient’s blood, and then recording the patient’s condition. A phlebotomist may also be responsible for taking heart rate and pulse. The most common task for a phlebotomy tech is taking samples and preparing them to send to the lab. A phlebotomy technician may be responsible for updating the patient’s records as well, to keep everything up to date and accurate.
- Basic lab work: Though the lab technicians are the ones who analyze the samples, as a phlebotomy tech you will be responsible for some minor duties, such as preparing microscope slides, or taking swab samples from patients.
It’s no surprise that wanting to pursue a career in phlebotomy requires some extensive medical knowledge. With phlebotomy technicians increasing in demand at hospitals across the US, many prospective employers are looking at the best of the best. Getting a phlebotomy certification not only increases your chances of getting accepted as a phlebotomy technician, many workplaces require this certification to be allowed to work. Learn more about taking phlebotomy classes and starting a new high demand career.
What is a CPT?
CPT is your Phlebotomy Technician Certification; getting a CPT certificate essentially means that you have the skills and the know-how to do your job accurately and efficiently. Getting your Phlebotomy Technician Certification is a long process, and you do need to meet some prerequisites in order to even take the Phlebotomy exam. Before partaking in any phlebotomy classes, ensure that you have the following prerequisites met:
- Must have a high-school diploma or GED
- Must be at least 18 years old.
- While not required, excellent marks in both chemistry and biology are preferred, and will give you an edge against competing candidates.
Once these prerequisites have been met, then it’s time to take the actual course, and then the exam. Depending on the phlebotomy school, getting a certificate can take as little as 1 semester, or as long as 2 years. There is also the option to get your phlebotomy certification online. Once you’ve completed the course, you can take an exam that will certify you as a phlebotomy technician.
Part of getting your phlebotomy certification involves special training. Phlebotomy training is fairly straightforward, and is often included in the practical portion of the exam course. If you choose to take your phlebotomy certification online, then you may need to book time at a physical location to get this practical training in.
Phlebotomy Technician Job Outlook
A phlebotomy technician is a rising field in the medical industry, and in anticipated to have one of the highest growths in demand right up through the year 2024. Hospitals and clinics are always looking for more experienced professionals to be able to draw blood with efficiency and care. It is because of this reason that a certified phlebotomy tech is in such high demand, and getting a job in this field is more attractive than ever. Not only phlebotomy technicians highly desired anywhere that requires blood being drawn, but they are also paid very well, and the work is less demanding than other positions in the medical field.
Annually, a phlebotomy salary is around $30,000 per year (an average hourly rate of ~$14.50). When taking into the consideration the certificate training, as well as any practical training, the phlebotomy tech salary is actually quite high, and many phlebotomy techs can expect to pay back their education in about two years. This high turn around should be a very attractive prospect for anyone considering a career in phlebotomy.
As stated above, this career is also expected to grow about 25% by 2024, a phenomenal boost to this Phlebotomy career which makes it one of the easier jobs to get into with the proper certification.