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Phlebotomists

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Career Overview

The last time you had your blood drawn, the kind person at the other end of the needle was a phlebotomist. If you've ever wondered what it's like to be in their shoes, then pursuing a career as a phlebotomist could be for you. This occupation is important because these healthcare professionals collect blood to be donated for those in need, or collect samples to be tested for important diagnosis.If there were no phlebotomists, hospitals could find themselves in dire need of blood. For instance, what happens when someone is in a car accident and they need a blood transfusion? Doctors count on the availability of donated blood so that they can complete the transfusion. If there are no phlebotomists to draw blood for donation on a regular basis, there could be a shortage in blood available to help patients who need it.Furthermore, when someone starts feeling symptoms that could be due to an iron deficiency or even diabetes, doctors request that blood be drawn for tests. Again, phlebotomists are needed to draw blood from the patient so that it can be tested and a doctor can use the results to determine what a patient is suffering from and how they can help them to feel better.Working as a phlebotomist can make you an important member of the medical field. Imagine how your work could help patients who need a blood transfusion to survive an accident, or to determine what is ailing them so that they can recover. Doctors and their patients count on your work to help people live a healthy life. How inspiring is that?

Salaries and Job Outlook*

2013 Median Annual Pay
Number of Jobs in 2013
Projected Growth Rate
National
$33,670
122,550
24.4 %
Virginia
$33,780
3,630
 

Education and Training

Degrees Required:
High School Diploma Certificate or Diploma in Phlebotomy

There are two ways you can become a phlebotomist. You can choose to enter the occupation with a high school diploma and complete on-the-job training. Or, you can choose to complete a program in phlebotomy at a community college, vocational school, or technical school. These programs typically take less than 1 year to complete and provide you with a certificate or diploma. In the program, you will participate in labs and learn about anatomy, physiology, and medical terminology.Additionally, nearly all employers prefer to hire phlebotomists who are professionally certified. There are several organizations that offer certification including the American Society for Clinical Pathology and The National Center for Competency Testing. Should you choose to become certified, you will be required to complete clinical experience as well as classroom education. As far as testing for certification goes, you will take an exam that may include a practical component, such as drawing blood. Each certifying organization has its own specific requirements. If you want to work in California, Louisiana, or Nevada, you must be certified.

 
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Valued Traits & Abilities

Communication Skills
Detail Oriented.

Work Environment

Most phlebotomists work at hospitals while others work at blood donor centers. When it comes down to it, where you choose to use your skills is entirely up to you.As far as your schedule goes, most phlebotomists work full time, Monday-Friday from 8am-5pm. However, if you work in a hospital, you may be required to work on nights, weekends, and even holidays.

* Source: BLS Data - 2013