If you are serious about working as a phlebotomist, you need to obtain a certificate first. Fortunately, there are training programs available at the majority of community colleges, as well as many colleges offering healthcare qualifications. The qualification you will need to obtain will vary depending on the state you are in, but there are many similarities in training programs across the country.
Before you can think about beginning your phlebotomist degree, you need to have a high school diploma. This also means that you need to be 18 or over. Once you have your high school diploma, you can begin applying to the colleges that offer phlebotomy certificates. While some of these may offer straightforward phlebotomy certificates, others may train you to become a haemodialysis technician. Regardless of which qualification you aim for, making sure it is one that will certify you as a phlebotomist should be your primary aim. Check with the college you are applying to before paying any fees.
To get an idea of what is needed in each state, it is necessary to look at a couple of case studies. California, for example, requires that you pass a state-approved program. The prerequisites for these programs usually include at least a high school diploma. The two most popular phlebotomy training programs in California are the ones available at Platt College and Empire College. At each of these institutions, you will be required to pay an examination fee and sit an exam before you can become certified. There are also other colleges offering the course across the state.
In contrast, those who want to work as a phlebotomist in Florida do not have to have a formal certificate or license. However, the governing body AHEC does recommend that you obtain formal training, as this will improve your job prospects. In Florida, a typical phlebotomy training program lasts between four and eight weeks, and recommended programs can be found on the AHEC website.
In many states, there is the opportunity to engage in continuing education. While some phlebotomy courses offer additional skills as standard, others do not. As a result, many phlebotomists choose to embark on advanced practice courses to take on skills such as taking blood pressure, performing CPR, and basic clinical lab skills. Doing this is optional, but is a great way to enhance job prospects. For those who are working in urban areas, gaining these additional skills is also a great way to ensure you reach the upper earning limits for your area.
In order to work as a phlebotomist, the regulations and training vary in each state. While some may require a certificate, like California, others may be more relaxed, like Florida. Taking the exams that are relevant to your state will ensure that you can practice there.