Do you dream of working in a medical office but don’t want to go to school for years to become a nurse, doctor or other healthcare professional? You’re in luck. You could prepare for a career in phlebotomy is less than a year.

What You Will Do as Phlebotomist

Phlebotomists draw blood form patients and animals who need samples tested for various reasons. This can be for tests, transfusions, donations or research.

Phlebotomists draw blood by venipuncture, which is puncturing the vein. Since infants’ veins are small, phlebotomists stick the heel to draw blood. People who only need to provide a small amount of blood will receive a finger stick. Specialized phlebotomists can draw blood from an artery in the wrist; this is for arterial blood gas.

Phlebotomy Training

With a high school diploma, you can enroll in a phlebotomy training program, which could last anywhere from three months to one year. The exact time it takes to complete the program depends on how many courses you can take at a time.

You can also receive an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree in phlebotomy, which takes two and four years respectively, to complete.

Once you complete schooling, you could start working in a medical facility assisting other phlebotomists so you can gain hands-on experience. This hands-on experience will help you achieve the 1000 hours you need to be eligible for certification.

Becoming Certified as a Phlebotomist

Many states, such as California and Florida, require certifications for phlebotomists. Each state differs in these regulations, to check for other states contact the state’s health department.

Whether your state requires certifications or not, having one proves you have the knowledge, skill and experience to perform phlebotomy. This is a highly recognized achievement by medical professionals and can greatly increase your chances of finding a job as a phlebotomist.

To become certified, someone needs to have education from a phlebotomy-accredited school. Check accreditation with one of three associations for phlebotomy: American Society for Clinical Pathology, Association of Phlebotomy Technicians, and National Phlebotomy Association.

With education and laboratory experience, phlebotomists can apply to take the certification exam with their state’s health department. The exam will include information learned through training as well as demonstration of the safety and procedure of venipuncture and heel pricks.

While the certification exam is not difficult, it can be overwhelming to remember all the information learned during training. The most important thing you can do is review your training material and practice with supervision until you know the procedure well.

Phlebotomist’s Work Settings

Since most phlebotomist work in settings with extended hours, many can work a flexible schedule, which means working long hours on some days to receive other days off.

Some phlebotomist only work part time and some work as travelling phlebotomists who visit companies, other health care facilities or wherever blood drawing is needed.

The Average Salary of a Phlebotomist

Most phlebotomist average an hourly pay of $12.50 to $14.00 or an annual salary of $26,000 to $28,000.

Experience can raise your salary. Those with four years of experience can expect to receive approximately $34,392. Phlebotomists with five or more years of experience can expect an average salary of $36,067.

Other factors that contribute to your salary are size of the facility and geographical location. Phlebotomists working in a small facility can expect a lower salary compared to those in a larger one. Phlebotomists in larger cities can expect higher compensation than those in smaller ones.

Start Your Career as a Phlebotomist

Now you know all about how to prepare yourself to become a phlebotomist and what a career in phlebotomy is like. Don’t stay in a career that makes you unhappy, make a change so you can love your work and life.