Tips to Finding the Best Phlebotomy Schools
If you are interested in training to become a phlebotomy technician, or phlebotomist, you might be aware of the different training programs that are available to you. They all claim to be the best and offer plenty of promises.
Before you sign on the dotted line and begin investing money and time, here are some important tips to consider when choosing a phlebotomy training program.
I have assisted many students with their search for medical training programs, one of which is the phlebotomy training. In this article, you will find tips, suggestions and the inside scoop from an admissions representative's point of view.
From personal experience, research, and interviews with program managers, students and instructors, I can guide you in the right direction when it comes to choosing the right phlebotomy program.
I feel that it's important for students to be equipped with as much knowledge as possible before committing to a rigorous training program. It's best to view all your options and make your final decision, without the persuasive sales pitch from your admissions counselor.
Quick facts about Phlebotomist Technician:
- Phlebotomists are responsible for drawing blood. Additional duties: analyzing blood and fluid samples, taking patient histories, and work closely with medical professionals.
- You do not need a four year degree to become a Phlebotomist. California and New York are the only states that require a phlebotomy certification.
- According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary in the US for a phlebotomist is $16/hr. If you've been certified and have experience, you can earn as much as $43,000 annually.
- Salary varies by state. Check out Payscale to see how much you can earn.
Phlebotomy training is one of the faster ways into a healthcare career that offers good pay without a four year degree. It is also a good stepping ladder to more advanced positions.
Blood reports are an important part of the diagnosis part of the medical field, therefore the need for phlebotomy technicians to draw blood is high. However, the competition is very high as well.
With the competition for jobs being more fierce in this economy, the more diverse skill sets that you have, the better off you will be! One of the myths that you might hear is that a simple certification in venipuncture can get you a job easily. Think again! Hospitals and clinics are looking for applicants with experience and extensive training.
Quick Overview of How To Become a Phlebotomist
A Day in the Life of a Phlebotomist
What Can You Expect to Learn From Phlebotomy Classes?
The phlebotomy training program can be as short as 6 months to 2 years, and ranges from $1,000 to $15,000 in tuition. A more expensive phlebotomy training program is not always an indication of the best program, or is the right fit for you. However, it is best to consider what the program entails.
A good phlebotomy training program is not only comprehensive, but also provides additional career resources. You want to find a program that will not only offer top notch curriculum, but will prepare you with additional professional skills and network connections.
There are additional things to consider, aside from the curriculum, which will be discussed further in this article. Keep in mind that the more thorough the phlebotomy program, the stronger your credentials will be. That could also affect the starting salary you can command upon completion and certification.
The most important part of the curriculum is learning the proper technique to draw blood with the least discomfort for the patient. You can expect additional subjects such as:
- Biology, chemistry, physiology, anatomy
- Medical terminology
- Legal aspect of blood collection
You will also be taught hands-on skills including:
- Clean and prep skin for blood draw
- Safety disposal of blood and other hazardous liquid and material
- CPR Training/First Aid
- Learn proper usage of needles
- Safety disposal
- Learn how to ease patient's worries
- properly safeguard blood for analysis
Information on Phlebotomy Certification Exam:
- American Society of Phlebotomy Technician (ASPT)
- National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT)
- American Certification Agency ACA)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
Phlebotomy Certification: What is Required?
In order to draw blood in most states, you are required to have a phlebotomy certification. You must apply for and meet the requirement of a phlebotomy certification organization, such as NCCT or ASPT. Prior to taking the exam, you must complete the following requirements:
- Received HS Diploma
- Completed an NCCT-approved Phlebotomy Technician program within the last 10 years
- One year of qualifying full-time employment (2080 hrs) or equivalent part-time employment as a Phlebotomy Technician within the last 10 years
Note: There are also requirements prior to practicing on real patients at your externship, which includes immunization for Hepatitis B, MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella), Varicella (Chicken Pox), and PPD (Tuberculosis). Some sites also require knowledge of CPR and First Aid.
What Makes a Good Phlebotomy Training Program?
Choosing the best phlebotomy training program also depends on your needs and your current career status.
- Are you a new high school graduate?
- Do you already have 2 years of experiences as a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant)?
- Are you a medical assistant wanting to advance in your medical career?
Some institutions offer quick courses that allow you to meet the requirements to take the phlebotomy certification exams.
If you are a practicing medical assistant, for example, you already have knowledge and experience in the medical field. You would probably only need to take the quicker course, pass your exam, and start workings as a phlebotomist.
If you are a new graduate or have no related experience in the medical field, it would benefit you to enroll in a longer and more comprehensive program.
Different schools have different program requirements for certification. Phlebotomy training programs are all different and the following should be taken in consideration.
Phlebotomy Training in UK and Canada
Requirements for phlebotomy varies by location, but for this article, I am focusing on the certification to practice in the United States. For more information on Canadian and UK , visit
Make sure you ask your admissions representative about each of these factors.
Make sure that the school that you enroll at is accredited with the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI). There are schools out there that are not accredited. Employers hire students who receive their training from accredited schools to ensure high standards have been met. Accreditation is also needed for students who want to apply for financial aid from the federal government.
2. Externship/Job Search
Does the school have a career department/center? Do they assist students with job search and resume? Which hospitals/clinics do they send their students to practice at? What percentage of graduating students are working? Don't be afraid to ask to see a list of their most recent graduates and where they are working at.
Phlebotomy training programs are offered in both community colleges and vocational schools, depending on your state. The cost caries for every school. Does the tuition include books and materials? Is there financial aid (federal aid) or payment plans available? Does the school have a financial planner to assist students with financial applications?
How much experience does your instructors have as a phlebotomist? How long have they been teaching? Are they available for extra office hours/help? When you take a tour of the classrooms, talk to the instructors and ask questions. You will get a better feel of the instructor's teaching style and demeanor.
Ask to see the program syllabus. What subjects are being taught? Does the school have the right mix of theoretical instruction and clinical practice? Most schools offer:
- 40 hours of classroom lecture
- 100 hours of clinical training
- 100 blood collections
Does the school offer to help prepare for the certification exam? What is the passing rate for students who complete the program? A high passing rate is usually a good indicator of the quality of teachers and curriculum.
Phlebotomy Training: Community Colleges vs Vocational Schools
|Community College||Vocational Schools|
Longer (about 2 years)You will be required to complet prerequisite courses before starting your actual training.
Shorter (3 months-15 months)
Cheaper (cost per unit)
Does not prepare you for certification exam
Preparation for certification exam
Does not help you look for an externship
Some schools have a career counselor
Take a look at what a phlebotomy training course looks like
Wrapping it up
The benefit to enrolling for an accredited paid phlebotomy training course is to gain experience and knowledge. You have a higher chance of getting a job offer and a higher chance of passing the certification exam.
However, not all phlebotomy training programs are the same and certainly not all are the right fit for you. Ask plenty of questions during your meeting with the admissions representative. Do you research thoroughly and visit multiple schools before investing your time and money.
Not all schools are what they seem to be. Do not believe everything you hear from the admissions representative. Make sure that he or she backs up the school's claim with documents. Fortunately, there are many excellent phlebotomy training programs out there. You just have to do your homework! Good luck!
Comments/Questions on Phlebotomy Training Programs and Schools
Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on May 11, 2015:
My please Kim. I bet it is. You won't see me donate blood at the blood bank. I'll faint.
Kim Lam (author) from California on May 11, 2015:
it's a lucrative profession...unfortunately also quite competitive.
Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on May 10, 2015:
Kim, this was an interesting hub about that medical profession and useful for those who wish to go that route. Since I'm squeamish about blood, this gets a voted up from me!
Kim Lam (author) from California on July 02, 2012:
Hi phlebotomyhub~ Thank you for the great comment. I'm glad you found this article useful. It's great that you've completed the program. Congrats!
phlebotomyhub from new york on July 02, 2012:
Hey Turtlewoman, great hub, its great to see phlebotomy training hub that cuts out over-hyped promises.
phlebotomyhub from new york on June 15, 2012:
Hey Turtlewoman, very informative hub, I have seen so many articles promising the world to people, how to become a phlebotomist and the high earning potential over $100k, which is absurd. Before I qualified, I followed misleading training programs, which lead me to spending lots of unnecessary cash, but god bless I found an article many years ago similar to yours that helped me. keep up the good work.
jackson1490 on June 12, 2012:
Very much like your hub. You are obviously a very informed person on your profession!!
Faith Reaper from southern USA on May 24, 2012:
Very insightful hub. Well done! My husband has to have a phlebotomy every now and then due to high red blood cell count. I did not know of the whole field of Phlebotomy Training, etc. Very interesting. In His Love, Faith Reaper
Mary Hyatt from Florida on May 24, 2012:
As a retired Med. Tech. I was interested in what you wrote. Informative Hub. Nurses assistants have assumed the role of the phlebotomist for the most part here where I live at least for "in hospital" drawing of blood. They are still needed to work in other areas, though such as blood banks and other facilities. I voted this UP, etc.