Phlebotomist

Certified Phlebotomist, Certified Phlebotomy Technician, Clinical Phlebotomist   More Names
Collections Technician, Lab Asst, Laboratory Phlebotomist, Long Term Care Phlebotomist, Medical Phlebotomist, Outpatient Phlebotomist, Patient Service Technician PST, Phlebotomist, Phlebotomist Supervisor/Instructor, Phlebotomist, Medical Lab Assistant, Phlebotomists, Phlebotomy Director, Phlebotomy Program Coordinator, Phlebotomy Services Representative, Phlebotomy Services Technician, Phlebotomy Supervisor, Phlebotomy Technician, Phlebotomy Technologist, Registered Phlebotomist-Part Time, Research Phlebotomist, Venipuncturist
Description

Collect blood and other fluid samples from patients under the direction of a physician or other licensed healthcare professional. In preparing a blood sample collection, a patient's skin surface is cleaned and then a small needle is used to obtain blood from a vein. After collection, duties include correctly labeling the sample container with key patient identification information and completing needed paperwork for forwarding the sample for laboratory analysis.

Phlebotomists are employed in hospitals, physician's offices, clinics, and various laboratory settings, including those operated by federal, state, or local government agencies. They work under the direction of physicians or other licensed medical professionals, such as registered nurses or medical and clinical laboratory technologists.

The sampling work of a phlebotomist must be performed with particular care and complete accuracy. They are responsible for taking blood without harming the patient or disturbing any nursing care the patient's may be receiving at the time. An error in their job performance can have consequences that range from a wrong diagnosis to a contamination that makes the sample worthless. Prior to blood sample collection, phlebotomists are responsible for ensuring that all collection instruments are new and sterile and that the collection setting is sanitary. During sample collection, they make sure that the patient is comfortable and that the collection proceeds smoothly. When the sample collection is complete, they make sure that bleeding stops and usually put a small bandage over the spot of the incision.

Phlebotomists also are responsible for safely disposing of any excess sample fluids. Because they have the potential for exposure to blood borne diseases and contaminants, the level of caution and expertise used in performing their duties also is important both for their own safety and for that of others who may be exposed to the fluid samples they draw.

Phlebotomists are responsible for correctly labeling the collection container with pertinent patient information, completing needed paperwork, and then forwarding the sample for laboratory analysis and diagnosis. Their duties also may include performing certain preliminary analysis of a blood or other fluid sample before forwarding it for further analysis by attending medical professionals or laboratory personnel.

When working in a laboratory setting, phlebotomists may have the added task of ensuring that samples are correctly analyzed by enforcing quality control and safety measures to prevent the contamination. Some may be responsible for conducting home care visits and transporting the fluid samples between sample sites and a doctor's office or a laboratory. In addition, more experienced phlebotomists may be required to train entry-level staff in sample collection and follow-up procedures.

The phlebotomist career is an entry-level position on the laboratory technology career ladder. With additional training and experience, it can lead to a next step position as a medical and clinical laboratory technician. Alternatively, it can serve as an introduction to a nursing career with a next step either as a licensed practical nurse or registered nurse, both of which also would require specialized nursing education and training.

Credentials Needed: Most states do not require phlebotomists to be licensed, registered, or certified. As of mid-2011, California, Louisiana and Nevada each had requirements concerning phlebotomists. This list will update periodically, so it is a good idea to check with your state to see if they have licensing requirements to work in this occupation.

The majority of employers require that entry-level phlebotomists have a voluntary industry-based certification in phlebotomy. A number of different organizations sponsor a nationally recognized phlebotomy certification. These certifying organizations include the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP); American Medical Technologists (AMT); National HealthCareer Association (NHA); National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT); National Credentialing Agency for Laboratory Personnel (NCALP), and National Phlebotomy Association (NPA).

Each of these organizations has different requirements for certification. When checking state licensing or employer requirements, it may be helpful also to find out if there is a preference for one or more of these different credentials or certification sponsors.

Some Key Things to Remember: Phlebotomists collect blood and other fluid samples from patients under the direction of a physician or other licensed healthcare professional. The sampling work of a phlebotomist must be performed with particular care and complete accuracy. States and employers generally require a phlebotomist to have at least a high school diploma or General Educational Development (GED) certificate and completion of a phlebotomy training program. Most states do not require phlebotomists to be licensed, registered, or certified. However, the majority of employers want their entry-level phlebotomists to have earned a voluntary industry-based certification.

Reviewed for content and accuracy by the National Phlebotomy Association, June 19-20, 2012.

More Details
Job Growth and Wages
Percent Job Growth:  
25% - Much faster than average
Typical Wages (National):  
Annual: $27,350 - $38,800    Hourly: $13 - $19
Physical/Medical/Health Requirements

No specifc requirement is identified at this time.

Legal Requirements
General/Nationwide
State-Specific
 
      

Career Snapshot

Typical Education:

Certificate (High School + 0-4 years, Certificate awarded)
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Percent Job Growth:

25% - Much faster than average
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Typical Wages:

Annual: $27,350 - $38,800

Hourly: $13 - $19