The job outlook for certified and experienced phlebotomists is excellent in the coming years. The report of Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor revealed that the demand of phlebotomists is expected to grow by as much as 14% through 2018. The increasing demand for this group of healthcare workers is mainly due to the increasing number of individuals requiring medical treatments. Moreover, with the growing medical industry, the rapid development of medicine and science and the increasing number of newer procedures, the need for this specialized group is expected to increase.
In addition to the increasing need for phlebotomists, obtaining the proper education and training and phlebotomist certification in this field of clinical laboratory results in increased chances of finding job opportunities with better benefits and higher wages. On the average, phlebotomists who are employed in hospitals, private clinics and medical and diagnostic laboratories earn between $22,034 and $35,529 annually. Certified and experienced phlebotomists with further training can earn more than $40,000 each year.
To qualify to sit for a phlebotomist certification exam, it is important that aspiring phlebotomists complete a phlebotomist training program from an accredited program. Phlebotomist courses are usually offered by community colleges and technical schools. Phlebotomist classes are usually completed in two quarters or between four and eight months. Phlebotomy programs are mainly composed of two components: phlebotomist classes conducted through classroom lectures and a clinical externship program conducted in actual work settings. Classroom hours and clinical hours should be completed to graduate and to qualify for a phlebotomist certification exam.
During the first quarter, phlebotomist courses, such as phlebotomy laboratory basics, essentials of phlebotomy and AIDS and HIV education for healthcare workers must be completed by students. It is the part of the phlebotomist training that the theoretical knowledge of students are strengthened with introduction and discussion of topics in infection control, standard precautions, proper selection of anatomical sites, antiseptics, laboratory safety, blood collection equipment, tubes and additives, patient and specimen identification and post puncture care. Phlebotomist classes may also include topics in pre-analytical sources of errors, risk factors and complications, ethical issues, medical and legal issues and quality assurance. Students may be required to complete a course in cardiopulmonary resuscitation during the first semester. Phlebotomist courses in anatomy, physiology, medical terminology, data entry and record keeping may be incorporated into the program.
After the completion of phlebotomist courses conducted in classrooms, students are required to spend certain number of hours in actual clinical settings. This part of the program allows the students to integrate knowledge into clinical practice. It is during this time that the manual and clinical skills of aspiring phlebotomists are developed and enhanced as they are closely supervised by experienced and qualified phlebotomists during the hands-on training.
Students may be required to complete a certain number of cases per procedure during the training. The total number of cases may depend on the requirements set by the program. Venipunctures, skin punctures and other blood collection methods are performed.