How to Become A Phlebotomist

by MHeart

An article with tips and advice on phlebotomy training. Features facts and figures to help you learn more about the career of a phlebotomist.

The medical field is one of the premier industries throughout the world. Unlike most career fields that are dependant on the performance of the economy, medical practitioners are always in demand. Phlebotomy is one of the medical fields that has grown in popularity over the years, offering excellent career opportunities without the need to spend several years in a medical school seeking formal education before employment. Thus, if you wish to build a career in this field, then you need to learn how to become a phlebotomist. With a certification in phlebotomy, it is relatively easy to access available employment opportunities in this field.

As a phlebotomist, you will be responsible for performing a wide range of job specific tasks. While your key role will be to draw blood, there are many different situations where you will be doing this. For instance, you can work for the Red Cross where you will be taking blood samples for testing before withdrawing larger amounts for donation to patients. In hospital or clinic set ups, you will basically draw blood for testing purposes in order to help doctors diagnose diseases and other health conditions and even monitor medication levels.

Training to become a phlebotomist

While the core of your training will focus on learning how to perform venipuncture, you will discover that there is much to be learnt as well. In order to be licensed to practice phlebotomy, you will be required to take physiology and anatomy classes as well as some basics in first aid techniques. You will also learn how to handle blood that could potentially cause infections. Safety is always a primary concern in any medical field, and as a certified phlebotomist, you will learn the proper protocol of handling medical equipment, samples and specimen and any other hazardous material. Here's an example of the general resposibilities and duties:

The requirements

In order to become a phlebotomist, you need to meet certain minimum requirements. For a starter, you need to be at least 18 years old. You will also be required to have a high school diploma, GED, or its equivalent. In addition to these, you need to pass a criminal background check before you can be licensed to practice. It is also important that you are in sound physical health as you will mostly be in contact with patients who may have communicable diseases. A proper insurance to cover you from potential injuries and accidents is also essential


Training to become a phlebotomist is relatively brief. Most phlebotomy courses often require 40 hours to complete, and you can complete this training over the course of a couple of months. It is important that you pursue your training in an accredited school.

After completing your course, you will need to sit a certification exam from professional bodies such as the American Medical Technologists (AMT), the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT) and the American Credentialing Agency (ACA). After completing your phlebotomy training, these agencies will certify you as being competent the practice in various clinical and medical situations.

Colleges and career schools

You can cross train by taking phlebotomy courses at the academic institution where you are pursuing your nursing or Bachelors or Associate’s degree. You may also enroll at smaller phlebotomy schools that are offering part time classes. Owing to the fact that you will require a few months of training, you can pursue your phlebotomy training alongside another coursework simultaneously.

Some medical institutions also offer diploma programs that integrate nursing with phlebotomy training. Both fields are in high demand in most hospitals, and often, such hospitals offer simultaneous training in them or simply offer programs that you can arrange to complete at your convenience.

The pay outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average hourly wage of a phlebotomist in hospitals and private clinics is $12.50. However, if you are working in a laboratory or a physician’s office, then you can earn as much as $13 per hour. This is certainly an excellent wage considering the amount of training required to become a certified phlebotomist.

Room for advancement

Most people choose career paths based on the amount of room available for advancement within the particular field. While the advancement opportunities may be limited in the field of phlebotomy, you can easily raise to managerial level after several years of work experience. If phlebotomy is your first training, you can continue your education to become a nurse or other technologist. Also, you will require additional training and education to achieve a new position or job title. Therefore, treat your phlebotomy training as a career door opener within the medical field.

Generally, phlebotomy is an excellent career field with plenty of job opportunities to people with proper training and certification. With the medical field being an all season industry, the need for phlebotomists is not going to diminish any time soon. So, if you have a passion for helping other people, then you can learn how to become a phlebotomist in order to enjoy a rewarding career in this field.

Updated: 06/17/2012, MHeart
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