How much does a phlebotomist make? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary is $151.33 per month and $39,000 per year.
Blood is one of the most vital substances within a human body and it can tell us a lot about a person’s health. Blood donations can likewise be a key in saving lives that is the reason prepared phlebotomy professionals are so critical to the medical services industry. The health care industry doesn’t only hang on to the doctors and surgeons, nurses, phlebotomists, OT technicians are equally important.
WHAT IS PHLEBOTOMY?
Phlebotomy is the practice of piercing a vein and drawing blood from the patient’s body. Phlebotomists are the persons who study or practice phlebotomy and serve as healthcare workers in different hospitals or clinics. They often go up and explain the procedure to a patient. They also assist when patients have adverse reactions after their blood is drawn.
Basically, phlebotomy is being able to stick a needle in someone and successfully get blood. Phlebotomist technicians are trained in how to perform venepuncture with as little pain and discomfort as possible. They’re additionally prepared on the best way to quiet patients, handle blood, label blood, and transport it to a testing lab. They are a part of the medical team that supports a physician in providing vital lab testing for accurate treatment. In a humorous way, phlebotomists are the one who is paid to stab people with sharp objects.
In general, They:
- Collect and manage blood samples
- Work with patients
- Dispose of biohazardous materials,
- Assemble and use the equipment.
Now, the question arises, Why the blood is drawn from the patient’s body. So, the blood is drawn from the patient’s body for many reasons. Some of them are:
- For testing
- For donations
- For blood transfusions
- For diagnosis of diseases
- For research purposes.
So basically, for becoming a phlebotomist you must: Learn what it takes to succeed, understand educational requirements, seek certification, keep learning during your job too.
COURSES FOR PRE-MEDICAL STUDENTS:
Pre-medical students can go for many courses after passing their high-school exams or GED. Roles described under are considered as DPC (Direct Primary Care). Medical fields pre-medical students can opt for are:
- Patient Service Technician: They have responsibilities similar to phlebotomists.
- Medical Lab assistants: They usually work in clinical labs preparing specimens and running lab tests.
- Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)
- Doctor of Physical therapy
- Dental Hygienist
- EMT (Emergency Medical Technicians)/ Paramedics.
- ER (Emergency room), OR (Operational Research) Technician.
- Medical Assistant
- EKG (Electrocardiogram) Technician
WHY TO CHOOSE PHLEBOTOMY?
The perks of being a phlebotomist are many:
- With each collected blood, they save up to 3 lives, thus they work as humanitarian.
- They feel great satisfaction doing work that helps diagnose and treat patients.
- They can work in a wide range of locations including hospitals, research laboratories, insurance companies, ER (Emergency Room), and trauma centers.
- The Healthcare industry often gives access to superior medical and retirement benefits.
- As they are working in hospitals, thus they frequently have access to employee wellness programs and their benefits.
- Experienced phlebotomists are even earning up to $20/hr.
- It is a rapidly growing field. Its expected growth is 27% by 2022 in the USA according to different surveys.
- Many people use it as a stepping field into nursing and major medical fields.
- Its course duration is too short and doesn’t cost too much, doesn’t require a specific degree to get enrolled.
- You can be a doctor too while working as a phlebotomist.
As there is a famous saying by Steve Jobs:
“The only way to do great work is to love what you do”
So, for those who love medical and hospitals, who love to serve humanity. It’s a great opportunity where you are in hospitals working beside doctors, assisting them in their jobs and it is even less tiring than MBBS doctors job and is handsomely paid.
HOW TO BECOME A PHLEBOTOMIST:
In the USA, there are many courses offered by different universities, community colleges, hospitals, or healthcare organizations. Each state has almost the same procedure for becoming a phlebotomist with a slight change in course duration, course cost, and timings of the classes. You basically have to complete a training program that takes about three to nine months depending on what state you live in and what program offers. During the course duration, you’ll get real-world hands-on training under the supervision of a professional in the medical office or clinic. These courses also prepare students to take certified phlebotomy technician certification exams which are required in some states to work in this field.
When you complete your vocation preparation, you’ll be able to work in section level positions like phlebotomist.
After taking a course, you become marketable, plenty of places offer jobs then. Here, we will talk about the general procedure followed by every state for a phlebotomy course. How to get enrolled in that course and each and everything that comes under the phlebotomy courses.
REQUIREMENTS TO GET ENROLLED IN PHLEBOTOMY COURSES:
You don’t have to take general English, Mathematics, and Science classes to turn into a phlebotomist. It requires a GED (General Education Development Test) or High school educational costs. GED is a secondary school equivalency recognition, so you can utilize it to apply to school or for employment to continue. More than 98 percent of schools in the United States accept the GED, including community colleges, universities, and private schools. As long as you can cover the high school tuitions and pass the background checks, you can have your diploma, etc. In high school, you must be a pre-medical student. Phlebotomists regularly enter the occupation with a postsecondary non-degree grant from a phlebotomy program.
No age limit is there for phlebotomy certification. You can be anyone, not only the student, someone over the age of 18.
WHAT COURSE TO GO WITH:
You can take any course offered by different schools, colleges, and hospitals Simply, gather data from various sites and can select yourself in any of your ideal course close to you. You can enroll online too. States like California, Louisiana, Nevada, and Washington demand certified phlebotomists. That’s why it’s necessary to pass certified phlebotomy exams at the end of each course.
WHY CHOOSE COMMUNITY COLLEGE OVER ANY UNIVERSITY?
Community colleges have less strength as compared to universities, thus teachers do focus on every student and you learn more efficiently. Due to less strength, there is less competition during clinical and you can use better equipment. They are also less expensive as compared to universities. So anyone unable to pay high fees can easily enroll themselves here. Many universities don’t have a lot of certification classes. So for certification, you have to go to technician college or community college. Course duration is a little less thus you can have your certificate sooner.
These courses teach you:
- Role and responsibilities of a phlebotomist.
- Introduction to computers
- HIV/AIDS core training
- CPR (Cardiopulmonary resuscitation)
- Basic equipment operations
- Clinical techniques
- First aid practices
PHLEBOTOMY COURSE EXPENSES:
Course fees are different in different states, universities, or hospitals thus we can’t tell the exact amount but roughly estimated it is $1500-$1600 in community colleges and a little bit more in universities.
Course duration is different in different states. Some offer a 1-month long course. And many of them offer 4-month long courses. In these courses, you have to attend 3 hours or 1-hour classes on weekdays daily. These classes include clinical and academic lectures. Moreover, they have 20 class meetings during the course.
Mainly, during this course, you’ve to attend two or three 3 hours duration classes per week. In half class, you discuss conceptual stuff and in another half, you do practically. A couple of exams happens during the course. You have to pass them with a good percentage and then you’re eligible to appear in NHA (National Healthcare Association) test to end up a certified phlebotomist. Specialized doctors and nurses do teach you the books. Every hospital has highly qualified doctors so that phlebotomy books may not give you a tough time as they seem. If you’re enthusiast enough and a keen observer, you must pass the exams and NHA easily. Some of the tricks like revising along with studying, making flashcards of what you studied and doing quizzes, attending proper classes, taking practice tests, and studying your books not only thoroughly but deeply is the key.
Clinics held at the hospital and sight clinical also happen. During lab days, it’s all up to students that what time they want to come and for how many days. They can make groups and then rotate their timings and manage them according to their schedules. During lab days, students only do practice, practice, and practice of all what they have learned in classrooms, in academic sessions, and in book reading sessions. They have to complete the target of 30 sticks (venipuncturation) and then after that, they’re eligible to sit in NHA or PCE (Phlebotomy Certification Exams). After passing that exam, they are certified, phlebotomists.
CPR (CARDIOPULMONARY RESUSCITATION):
During the initials of the course, you study CPR training. You are almost CPR certified in the first week of the class.
CHECKING BLOOD PRESSURE:
Before drawing blood a person must know the patient’s blood pressure and act accordingly to his body’s blood pressure. So teaching how to check blood pressure is also the basics of phlebotomy. If the person’s blood pressure or flow is high, the blood will squirt out insanely and may hurt that person and you’ll have to clean that and fix that. If a person’s blood pressure or flow is low then you don’t have to be much careful. A phlebotomist must know how to prick blood with less pain and what precautions to follow after pricking blood of each kind of patient.
The Venipuncturation technique is one of the most important and basic techniques studied by phlebotomists. It covers up almost half the classes of that program. It is basically a whole phlebotomy.
According to the Medical Dictionary 2009 Farlex and Partners ‘Venipuncturation is a colloquial term for puncture, esp the puncturing of skin or a blood vessel’.
Students do poke sticks or needles or capillary sticks in each other’s arms to practice venipuncturation. Actually, doing phlebotomy is a fun and interesting job. You come home daily with your arms bruised and needles marks etc and that is pretty normal for any medical worker. The procedure for venipuncturation is described as you put on the tourniquet and then you look for the vein. Finding a vein must be difficult or easy depending upon what person you’re dealing with. You can even use Acumen as it’s a LED light that shines on the vein, so it might help you find the vein. If you’re an expert and you’ve dealt with many patients in the past, It must be an interesting experience for you. If you’re a newbie you should have to be more careful as playing with the human body, blood and veins are actually scary, But it’s not that fatal or difficult.
Many safety measures are used during venipuncturation like you can’t poke them in the tendon as that may cause a little injury. You’ve to go deeper in the vein.
NEEDLES USED FOR VENIPUNCTURATION:
Different kinds of needles are used to draw blood from the patient’s body. Some of the important needles are:
STRAIGHT NEEDLES: They are kind of bigger needles. They are easy to use. Mostly freshly certified phlebotomists use them as they are easy to hold, prick and cause less pain.
BUTTERFLY NEEDLES: These needles are designed like a butterfly. They have a wing above them. They hurt patients less but are harder to use or hold. You have to hold them from the wing and then the line and then the little tube holder. For smaller veins, you need to use butterfly needles.
LANCET NEEDLES: They are special kind of needles which are used to prick blood for capillary blood sampling.
Talking mainly about the University of South Florida, you have to submit 30 sticks i.e blood samples that prove that you actually pricked blood to be able to make it to the exam. It is not fixed. It may vary in many institutions. The person in charge provides a signature and witnesses that venipuncture and then you can submit it to that school.
COURSE BOOKS USED IN PHLEBOTOMY:
Course textbooks are almost the same in every state. Following are the authentic books written by well known and expert writers used during phlebotomy course in different states.
- Phlebotomy: A competency-based approach Kathryn A. and Lillian Mundt
- Phlebotomy Textbook: Theory and Clinical Approach
- An Introduction to Phlebotomy, Friedrick L. Kiechle
- Phlebotomy Notes: Pocket Guide to Blood Collection
- The complete Phlebotomy Exam Review: Pamela Primrose
- Love Your Patients: Scott Louis Diering
- Blood: An Epic History of Medicine and Commerce
- Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures
- NHA (National Health career Association) study guides
- Blood Collection (Third Edition) – They contain most of the information about how to draw blood and HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act)
Most of the books have pretty demonstrations to refresh your mind. They also contain beautiful and detailed drawings and images. Thus it is interesting to study. Moreover, they use slides for learning. They can make their own study guides and quizzes. They will have a tough time memorizing the order of draw but that’s an important part of their study.
PHLEBOTOMY CERTIFICATION EXAMS: They have exams consisting of Objectives, Subjective, Vivas, and Practicals. In Subjective, they deal with 120 questions, and the time duration is 2 hours. NHA study guides are most effective to study for phlebotomy certification exams, you can take their Practice exams. ASCP (American Society for Clinical Pathology), NAPT (National Association of Phlebotomy Technician), and NHA (National Healthcare Association) are among the organizations that provide phlebotomy certifications. Certified phlebotomists typically earn more than uncertified phlebotomists. Many employers prefer phlebotomists who have received National Certification. To become certified, one must take an exam after completing a phlebotomy training course. Certifications typically need to be renewed after every 2 years. Phlebotomists usually need to have completed a few hours of continuing education to recertify.
UNIFORM: The uniform phlebotomists usually wear during classes or during the job is a scrub. A nice royal blue, stone blue, or slate blue color scrub is assigned as their uniform. The scrub is actually a really nice comfortable kind of shirt and trousers which assist health care workers to work efficiently in hospitals whole day long or even at night. Mostly they wear maroon pants and tops too.
HOW A PHLEBOTOMIST SHOULD BEHAVE:
A phlebotomist should be Kind and Compassionate so that to console patients or kids who are afraid of needles. He must be sharp mind and prompt, to find the vein in no time, and show professional behavior to make patients feel more comfortable. He must have good communication skills. As good communication is mandatory for any person to have a good interaction with their customers or patients. He must be cheerful and delivering smiles to his patients. He must love his job and that’s how he can have a good term relationship with his patients, co-workers, and seniors.
SALARIES OF PHLEBOTOMISTS IN DIFFERENT STATES OF USA:
After doing phlebotomy you can join any hospitals, clinics, and research laboratories. In different states, salary packages are different.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
The average salary is $151.33 per month and $39,000 per year.
Salary package depends upon:
- Which state/industry you work in.
- Work hours
TOP PAYING STATE IN USA: The most paying state in the US is Alaska. They are offering $38,540 per year to their workers.
LOWEST PAYING STATE IN USA: Some states being less independent offers less to their workers. The lowest paying state in the whole US is Arkansas. They pay $25,350 per year to their workers. Much less as compared to Alaska.
TOP PAYING INDUSTRIES:
Insurance corners and specialty hospitals are the top-paying industries in the US. They are offering $42,870 and $36,850 respectively.
RATIO OF PHLEBOTOMISTS WORKING IN DIFFERENT INSTITUTIONS:
After certification, it’s really easy for a phlebotomist to find a white-collar and respectable job in any of the medical institutions. Let’s have a look at what is the ratio of vacancies of phlebotomists in different institutions or places.
Most of the phlebotomists i.e 40% are working in General Medical and Surgical Hospitals as chances of promotions and success are more there. More vacancies are available as hospitals need phlebotomists and physical therapists. There are more chances of learning about new techniques as you have to deal with every kind of patient there even the challenging and critical patients too.
Almost 26% of phlebotomists are working in Medical and Diagnostic centers.
About 18%, phlebotomists are working in Ambulatory health care services.
About 9% of phlebotomists are working in the offices of physicians as their assistants and earning a good salary.
EQUIPMENT USED BY A PHLEBOTOMIST:
Following are the equipment used by a phlebotomist during training or job are:
- Alcohol prep pads
- Healing pads
- Ice packs
- Plastic bags
- Gown- for treating viral or bacterial disease patient
- Stickers- to label the patient’s blood
EQUIPMENT PRESENT IN SUPPLY ROOM:
Equipment used in the supply room are:
- Culture Bottles
- Additives [ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival), Blood count]
- Trauma pager (Stroke alert)
- Acumen- for tough patients whose vein isn’t easily accessible. It’s actually a LED light that shines on veins. You’re able to see where the blood exactly is.
- Fake hands are for practicing.
CONCLUSION: Thus, phlebotomy is a pretty interesting and white-collar profession. One must go for it after their high school exams, Even if you don’t want to opt for it as a professional degree, you can have basic knowledge about first-aid practices. This course is beneficial in many ways and what’s better than serving humanity.
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