Jul 23

Phlebotomy Training – Starting the Career

Perhaps you’re getting ready to graduate high school and aren’t sure what you want to do with your life. Maybe you’re looking for a change of pace and atmosphere. Regardless of your reason for searching for a new career, you’re going to find a myriad of professions that enable you to help others. One often overlooked area of the medical field is phlebotomy. Phlebotomists are specially trained to draw blood for labs and testing and have quite a bit of patient interaction. As a phlebotomist, you’ll be a critical part of the health care team. Here are some things you’ll need to know to get started on this rewarding career path. Phlebotomy Training is just start of your career.


Research Local Regulations

As a phlebotomist, you’ll be handling needles and hazardous materials, including bodily fluids. Because of this, the field of phlebotomy is highly regulated. Before you consider becoming a phlebotomist, you’ll need to learn about your state’s rules and regulations concerning schooling, certification, licensure, and continuing education. While most states require you to complete a training program and become certified, the actual hours and details vary.

Make sure you are familiar with the rules before you choose a school. For example, you must have a high school diploma or a GED before you can become a phlebotomist. If you are an adult with a criminal record, you’ll need to make sure that record will not hinder your ability to get a certification after your classes are complete.

Choose a Phlebotomy School

The type of program you complete will vary depending on where you live and the state’s requirements. That said, you’ll find that the average phlebotomy program can last anywhere from 4 months to a full year. The length of the program will vary depending upon whether you go to a vocational or job training school or a college program where you may be in school for a longer period of time but will also get additional training.

When choosing a school, you’ll need to take your personal life into consideration as well. Are you able to be a full-time student? Do you have a family who needs your care? Will you be working while going to school? The answers to these questions will dictate whether you attend phlebotomy school full-time or part-time and, ultimately, the length of your program.


Obtaining a Phlebotomy Certification

Once you’ve graduated from your training program you’ll need to take a formal certification exam. The most esteemed organizations for a phlebotomy certification are the National Phlebotomy Association, the American Society for Clinical Pathology, and the Association for Phlebotomy Technicians. Talk to your school about your state’s requirements and make sure there is not a guideline mandating which association you must go through. You’ll also want to find out which association employers in your area hold in the highest regard. Once you have that information, you can register for your exam and obtain your certification.


Look for Work

Once your formal education and certification are out of the way, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a phlebotomist. You’ll be able to find work in doctors offices, clinics, labs, and even hospitals. Talk to your school about career placement programs and talk to those you meet during your training and internships. Job opportunities in this field are plentiful and you should have very little trouble finding work.

Entering the field of phlebotomy should be considered a strategic career move. If you’re happy, you can continue working in the field. If you’d like to advance, you’ll already have part of the medical training necessary to work as a nurse or in a plethora of other medical professions. The future is bright. Good luck!
Training in Action (Video clip of someone performing the task)

Jul 23

The Evolution of Phlebotomy Technology in the Last 10 Years

The Evolution of Phlebotomy Technology in the Last 10 Years

Phlebotomy is the field of medical technology that deals with drawing blood from patients for a variety of medical uses. Phlebotomy technology has made huge strides in its history overall, and the latter half of the 20th century and first decade of the 21st has seen it evolve into an ever more refined, well controlled, and comfortable experience for the phlebotomist and patient alike. While it used to be a somewhat traumatic, time consuming, and even dangerous practice, recent technological advancements have largely eliminated the risks and much of the discomfort associated while having blood drawn. The practice is safer, cleaner, faster, and more accurate for all concerned. Let’s take a look at some of the recent advancements in phlebotomy technology.

Vacuum Sealed Tubes

In the 20th century, prior to the advancements we’re about to discuss, drawing blood from patients was quite different than it is currently. In the 1970s, for instance, blood was taken from patients with simple syringes and put into test tubes for any analysis that was going to be conducted. The test tubes into which blood was placed had to have solutions of citrate or EDTA placed in them, mixing with the blood, in order to keep the blood from coagulating. A rubber stopper had to be placed on the test tubes to seal them from air. The process was fairly time consuming – the solutions had to be prepared by hospital or clinical staff, and the fact that the test tube was open to the air allowed made it less sanitary. And believe it or not, needles had to be resharpened on a grinder for the next phlebotomy procedure!

Though the first evacuated blood collection tubes were invented in the late 1940s, it wasn’t until somewhat later that they came into wide use in phlebotomy. These had a lot of advantages over the method described above, the main advantage being that the blood was not exposed to air, or that exposure was greatly reduced, after the sample was taken. Multiple sleeves were an innovation in Vacutainers that made for less blood drippage and air exposure.

In the mid 1980s, a large medical equipment company called Greiner Bio invented the first plastic evacuated blood collection tubes that are in general prevalent use in phlebotomy. After the blood sample was drawn, the phlebotomist essentially snapped the plastic vacuum tube closed and the blood was stored in the plastic container for testing purposes. Called Evacutainers or Vacutainers, these are the standard blood drawing technology for small to moderate amounts of blood in use in the field today.

Recent Advances

Vacutainers have undergone some recent advancements that make them even more reliable, comfortable, and safe. Some of the these advancements include the following:

Better Needle Design

Needles have become progressively finer and more accurate in recent years. The needle is beveled so as to provide better vein puncture and greater comfort for the patent. When the needle can penetrate the vein more quickly and accurately, the result is more comfortable experience for the patient.

Greater Visibility

A transparent hub in the needle provides what is known as flashback control. This allows the phlebotomist to better view the blood entering the Vacutainer, which is called flashback. The advantage here is greater control. The phlebotomist can tell when the vein has been penetrated correctly because he or she can easily view the blood flowing into the Vacutainer. This also increases patient comfort because there is less searching for vein puncture or needle position.

These advancements to the Vacutainer have made phlebotomy a more comfortable, accurate, and sanitary experience for patient and phlebotomist alike.

Jul 23

Cross-Training in Nursing and Phlebotomy

How to Get Cross-Training in Nursing and Phlebotomy

Nursing and Phlebotomy are considered two different fields. However, there is no reason why an individual can’t study both and become qualified to practice in either field. This is known as cross training and can be a valuable approach for health care professionals in that may increase their employability. Having two related skills makes a professional seem well rounded, knowledgeable, and competent. Cross training generally refers to the simultaneous study of two different disciplines, or perhaps to their concurrent study in close temporal proximity. Let’s take a look at how this principle would be applied to the fields of nursing and phlebotomy.

Nursing and Phlebotomy

Something should be made clear at the outset of the discussion of cross training in nursing and phlebotomy. This is the fact that these two disciplines are not really comparable as to their breadth, scope, and the amount of study needed for each. Registered nurses have a much longer course of study and the field includes much more than phlebotomy. So to get a sense of the cross training options and advisability let’s look at the education required for each field.


Nurses either get Bachelor’s degrees (4 year degrees), Associates degrees (2 year degrees), or complete dedicated nursing training programs given by hospitals. The latter usually take about 3 years to complete. 4 year degrees are generally known as Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degrees and 2 year degrees are called Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) degrees. The nursing training programs often result in nursing diplomas.

Nurses perform patient care activities and are also qualified to perform various medical procedures, educate patients, administer medications, and offer patient support. This is a large field that is involved with directly assisting doctors with their activities.


Phlebotomy, on the other hand, is considered a branch of the medical technology field and doesn’t have anywhere near the breadth and scope that nursing does. Phlebotomists perform one fairly simple activity – they draw blood from patients. The blood they draw is then used for various tests in medical laboratories. The training for becoming a phlebotomist is briefer. Phlebotomy courses often consist of 40 hours of training which can be completed over a course of a few months. This training is taken at accredited career schools.

After completing a course in phlebotomy that covers such areas blood collection, handling of samples, patient care, anatomy, and physiology, the student needs to take various certification exams offered by professional organizations such as the American Medical Technologists (AMT), the American Credentialing Agency (ACA), the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT). These organizations certify an individual who has completed a phlebotomy training course as being competent to practice phlebotomy in various medical and clinical situations.

Bearing all this in mind, it becomes obvious that cross training in the field simply involves studying both at once, with the nursing education occupying much more time and dedication than phlebotomy, simply because nursing is so much more involved. The following are a few ideas concerning this.

Academic Colleges and Career Schools

An individual may be able to cross train by taking a phlebotomy course at the academic college where they are pursuing a nursing Bachelors or Associate’s degree. They may also be able to enroll at a smaller career school (for instance that offers night classes) at the same time as being enrolled at the college or university where they are studying nursing. Owing to the fact that phlebotomy requires so much less training, it will often be relatively easy for an individual to complete both courses of study simultaneously.

There may also be diploma programs at hospitals that integrate nursing training and phlebotomy. Both fields are in high demand in hospitals, and often hospitals may offer simultaneous courses in them or simply offer two programs that an individual can arrange to complete in a way that is convenient for them.

Jul 23

Organizations and Associations of Phlebotomy

Organizations and Associations of Phlebotomy You Need To Know About

If you are interested in a career as a phlebotomist, it is important to become certified in phlebotomy by a respected professional organization. There are a number of professional associations that handle this field and operate on a national level. There may also be local organizations that offer training and certification, but the advantage of a nationally recognized organization is that you can be sure that your certification will be seen as a valid credential all around the U.S. The following organizations are national in scope and can help with such areas as certification, continuing education, and keeping current with the field.

Reasons to Check out Professional Organizations

Professional organizations offer number of advantages to phlebotomists or phlebotomy students. For one thing, these organizations offer certification exams that allow a phlebotomist to demonstrate that they have reached mastery of the field and are certifiably competent and employable. In addition, these organizations often offer continuing education that allows an individual to keep up to date with their skills and become aware of advancements. They also serve as informational resources, publishing things like newsletters and blogs that can help phlebotomists stay in touch with their colleagues and with the field in general.

The American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians

The American society of phlebotomy technicians offers certification exams with a practical phase to them. They make a point of offering fairly thorough testing and this can help to assure a phlebotomist is really competent to practice. Both prospective employers and the phlebotomist him or herself can thus be assured that a highly professional level of competency has been achieved.

This organization also emphasizes continuing education for certified professionals. They require 6 hours of continuing education annually. This helps to keep professionals up to date with advances in the field and helps to strengthen their professionalism in an ongoing manner.

The American Certification Agency (ACA)

While it doesn’t deal exclusively with phlebotomy, this organization is well known and respected nationally and offers phlebotomy certification. Both phlebotomists and those seeking to instruct others in the practice of phlebotomy can become certified by the ACA – there are different certification exams for each. The prerequisites for the phlebotomist certification exam assure that the student has ample experience in phlebotomy on a practical level – the student must have completed 100 clinical hours, 100 venipunctures, and 10 dermal punctures in order to be eligible to take the exam. The successful completion of the test means that the individual becomes certified as a phlebotomy technician.

As regards the certification for phlebotomy instructors, applicants to take the test must be either RNs, LPNs, or be certified as phlebotomists.

The American Medical Technologists (AMT)

The AMT certifies professionals in various branches of medical technology, of which phlebotomy is one. The AMT requires that anyone taking the certification exam have completed a department of education accredited phlebotomy program. They must also show that they have completed a certain amount of practical instruction. It has a number of useful resources on its website such as exam outlines and practice tests.

These are only a few of the organizations that phlebotomists can get involved with for certification, education, and resources.