A career as a phlebotomist is critical for the successful and smooth operation of healthcare facilities, including veterinary clinics. Phlebotomists are responsible for drawing blood or taking specimen samples, and consequently, phlebotomists must undergo training before seeking employment.
How Old Do You Need to Be to Become a Phlebotomist?
Education and certification requirements for phlebotomists may vary from state to state. Most educational programs and employers require a high school diploma or equivalent, and completing an accredited phlebotomy program may be mandatory to acquire certification. These programs may take up to a year to complete.
Students may need to complete hands-on clinical training before applying for certification. Consequently, most employers will seek individuals over 18 due to the education and training required for the career.
Becoming a Phlebotomist
Prerequisite training and certification expectations for prospective phlebotomists may vary based on location and employer. Still, future professionals will be expected to have a baseline level of certification involving completing an accredited educational program and a state’s corresponding exam responsible for certifying allied health professionals.
Apprenticeships and prior work experience are not required to pursue a career in phlebotomy. Most prospective phlebotomists fulfill any hands-on training requirements by completing clinic hours offered by their educational program. Prospective phlebotomists who do not meet the age qualifications necessary to undergo training may gain work experience in adjacent fields by volunteering in medical facilities.
Completing an accredited training program in phlebotomy is often a necessary prerequisite to taking any statewide or national certification exams. A variety of institutions may accredit these training programs, including the American Certification Agency (ACA), the American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians (ASPT), the National Phlebotomy Association (NPA), and the National Healthcareer Association (NHA), among others. Students may be expected to complete a certain level of clinical training, often offered as a component of these training programs. Upon completion of a certification program, prospective phlebotomists may need to complete a national or regional certification exam, depending on state and employer requirements.
What is a Phlebotomist?
Phlebotomists are responsible for collecting blood and tissue samples in patients. The responsibilities of a phlebotomist may include:
- Locating suitable veins for blood draws with efficiency and patient comfort in mind.
- Performing venipuncture using sterile equipment and techniques.
- Collecting blood samples for laboratory tests.
- Specimen Handling:
- Properly handling, labeling, and documenting collected specimens.
- Ensuring collected samples are stored, transported, and maintained according to laboratory protocols.
- Infection Control:
- Maintaining a sterile work environment with adherence to infection control and safety procedures, including using personal protective equipment (PPE).
- Record Keeping:
- Maintaining accurate records of each blood draw, including patient information and the tests ordered.
- Documenting any complications or issues during the procedure.
- Equipment Maintenance:
- Cleaning and maintaining phlebotomy equipment, including needles, tubes, and other tools used in venipuncture procedures.