Phlebotomy is a term that means to open or puncture a blood vessel for the purpose of drawing blood. Blood tests are essential tools in modern medicine. The person trained to take blood is known as a phlebotomist. A phlebotomy program trains students in protocols to draw blood from different individuals using proper safety and hygiene techniques. The program also teaches the student how to document samples and how to prepare them for transport. These programs are usually offered at a community college or through a major health organization.
To qualify for a phlebotomy program, the student usually needs a high school diploma or a GED. The student often needs up to date vaccinations. They will also need written references from non-family members. A phlebotomy program generally runs for one month to three months. During that time the student will learn about the practice of taking blood using different methods. They will learn about the human circulatory system and venipuncture procedures. They learn how to use various pieces of equipment for blood extraction. They also learn proper procedures for handling samples and maintaining sample integrity. Proper procedures for disposing of needles and other puncture supplies is part of the curriculum.
Jobs are actually quite plentiful in the field of phlebotomy. Many students use this as a stepping stone into other medical roles, so there is a constant revolving need for trained phlebotomists. Students can find work in private doctors' offices, medical laboratories, hospitals, diagnostic labs, and other medical facilities. Without further training, there is no real path of advancement for a phlebotomist.
Salaries for a phlebotomist varies according to experience, location, and employer. In 2010, the hourly wages for a phlebotomy technician ranged from $13.00 in a doctor's office up to $20.16 in a high end lab. The median was around $14.16 per hour. Those just coming out of a phlebotomy program may find the pay even less.
Training in just phlebotomy is becoming harder to find. Most college programs are integrating this training into that of a medical assistant. There is a growing demand for higher standards in education among allied health professionals. Despite this, there is a steady need for this specialization in all parts of the country. As stated before, many use the role of a phlebotomist as a way to earn money while working on another medical related program. It offers a great introduction to the medical field.