About Phlebotomy Training
Phlebotomy refers to the process of drawing blood from a vein, artery or capillary with a needle. Blood is a common bodily fluid collected for diagnostic purposes. Phlebotomists perform venipunctures meaning they draw blood from patients using standardized collection techniques. Phlebotomy training program instructors teach laboratory safety practices and infection control measures. Training to become a phlebotomist requires tender interpersonal skills as well as the capacity to adhere to specimen collection, transport and processing standards.
Students applying to a phlebotomy training program need to have a high school diploma or a GED. Students must be at least 18 years of age on the first day of class. Many certificate programs require students to obtain healthcare CPR certification and provide proof of current immunization records. Due to the popularity of this program, perspective students are encouraged to apply to the program of their choice more than a year in advance.
Course of Study
Community and technical colleges offer certificate programs to students pursuing entry-level work in a clinical laboratory. Hospitals, clinics, blood banks and physicians offices employ certified phlebotomists. Most programs include three areas of mastery including classroom instruction, basic laboratory practices and a clinical session. Classroom instruction consists of introductory microbiology, anatomy and physiology, medical terminology and infection control techniques. The laboratory portion of the training includes laboratory safety, quality control, basic lab tests and knowledge of blood collection equipment. The clinical or practical portion of the coursework includes hands-on sessions. Students perform over 50 venipunctures, or blood draws, and at least 10 capillary blood draws under the direct supervision of an instructor.
In addition to the three learning objectives, students must learn the types of blood collection methods and materials. Different diagnostic tests require additives added to blood. Phlebotomy training instructors teach students to differentiate between the types of blood drawtubes. An example of one specialized blood drawtube has an anticoagulant chemical inside of the tube to keep the blood from clotting before the sample arrives in the lab.
The National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS) accredits phlebotomy training courses offered by colleges and technical schools. Depending upon the state where the school is located will determine whether the program prepares students for a state exam, in addition to licensing. Many state departments of health and human services require a separate exam to practice phlebotomy within the state. Any program that is not accredited will not prepare the student for the exams and employment.
Phlebotomy Training Program Duration
Phlebotomy training programs offer non-degree career certificates. Students do not earn a degree; therefore, they do not have to take general curriculum classes to earn the certificate. Some classes in healthcare ethics and communication teach students the necessary skills to be sensitive to the needs of diverse patients. Generally, most courses require about 200 hours of combined classroom, lab and clinical training. The estimated time for program completion is about 10 weeks. Upon successful completion, the student earns a certificate and becomes eligible to take the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) exam. This exam certifies the phlebotomist for work in a healthcare facility.
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