Meta: A phlebotomist makes an average of $33,000 without a college degree. With a 25% predicted career growth over the next decade, there’s no better time to learn more about phlebotomy! So how long does it take to become a phlebotomist? Let’s find out!
Phlebotomy is a rapidly growing medical field, with technicians earning an average annual salary of about $33,000. A college degree is not required to work as a phlebotomist, making it a far more accessible choice for those considering a career change. But how long does it take to become a phlebotomist? We did our research and found out everything you need to know.
It doesn’t take very long at all to become a phlebotomist! Most programs last between eight weeks and slightly less than a year. Proper certification takes as little as two weeks and can be completed online from the comfort of your home.
Though it usually takes less than a year to become a phlebotomist, getting started on that journey can be difficult if you’re not armed with the proper information. Some training and certification programs are amazing, but some of them are outright scams.
Before You Get Started
There are a few essential things to know before you get started. For example, what does a phlebotomist do?
What Do Phlebotomists Do?
Simply put, a phlebotomist draws blood. If you are squeamish around blood, you should probably consider an alternate career path, as phlebotomists are required to handle needles, puncture veins, and draw blood for testing. Phlebotomists are also responsible for proper labeling, so neat handwriting or typing skills are a must.
Is There Room for Career Growth?
A certified phlebotomy technician has a few related job opportunities to explore. Each occasion requires a little more education, but the increase in salary is undoubtedly worth it.
Medical assistants help with primary patient care and administrative tasks. It takes between ten months and two years to finish the training required to reach this position, and the average salary is equivalent to the average wage of a phlebotomy technician, making it a bit of risky choice.
Medical Lab Technician
Duties also include drawing blood but are extended to analyzing that blood as well. Additional education and training can take up to a year. Must be licensed to perform, but the annual salary is about $39,000, so the extra effort is worth it.
Becoming an LPN requires an additional year to two years of education and training, and duties are far more varied at this level. As an LPN, you are required to plan and manage patient care, interview patients and records their medical history, as well as obtain and record patient vital signs. If you are not comfortable touching people, remaining in the lab may be a better option for you. The average annual salary for an LPN is $44,000, so the time you put into your education and skill set is highly rewarded.
To become an RN, starting as a phlebotomy technician, requires between two and three years of additional education. The duties of an RN are many. The perform examinations, tests, treat wounds, provide medication, and many other tasks to assist the resident physician. You must have a lot of patience and endurance to be a successful RN, but the average annual salary for this position is more than double that of a phlebotomy technician.
An RN typically makes about $68,000 annually.
What Do You Need to Become a Phlebotomist?
To become a phlebotomist, you must possess a few key personality traits and educational merits.
A Kind Soul
Phlebotomy technicians must be patient, compassionate, and willing to work long hours. A technician may draw from more than a hundred people during their shift, so endurance is also a key trait to have.
High School Diploma / GED
Without proof that you have graduated from high school or a GED, you will not be allowed to enroll in any phlebotomy program. If you have not yet received a diploma or GED, find and sign up for a class today.
Finding A Great School
Once you have your high school diploma or your GED, you can begin researching programs. Vocational schools and community colleges offer effective, affordable plans. You may be wondering how long your schooling will take, asking, “How long does it take to become a phlebotomist?”
Most programs last an average of about fourteen weeks, but depending on your chosen one, training can take anywhere from eight weeks to a year.
There are a few critical pieces of information to keep in mind. Firstly, not all postsecondary institutions are reputable.
Look for The Approval
When searching for a phlebotomy program, aim for one that has been approved by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). The NAACLS website offers a program finding search engine, making it easy to find an approved or accredited school near you.
Any school that can promise to have you trained and certified in less than eight weeks is likely a scam. If you choose to attend a non-NAACLS school, ensure that the phlebotomy program that they offer includes courses in anatomy, physiology, and medical terminology. In addition to this, coursework must accumulate to at least 120 hours to meet certification eligibility standards.
If there are no approved or accredited programs in your area, and you’re hesitant to seek out non-approved schooling, there are several universities which offer mostly online education in phlebotomy, with only about 20% of the coursework required to be completed on-campus.
Here are five NAACLS accredited schools which offer semi-online phlebotomy training:
Thomas University – Thomasville, Georgia
Flexible scheduling, small class sizes, and an outstanding graduate hire rate are all fantastic reasons to consider Thomas University if you live in the southeastern US.
University of Tennessee – Knoxville Campus, Tennessee
Known for their high passing rates and quality of education, the professors at the University of Tennessee are patient, talented, and ready to teach you.
Weber State University – Ogden, Utah
If you’re in the midwestern US, check out Weber State. They offer both bachelors and associates degrees, almost wholly online. They are the first school to develop online medical courses for students.
South Dakota State University – Brookings, South Dakota
The only NAACLS-accredited school in South Dakota, this university is lauded for its ability to employ program graduates immediately.
Auburn University at Montgomery – Montgomery, Alabama
Perhaps the most striking thing about Auburn University at Montgomery’s phlebotomy program is how much of it is entirely online. Their flexible scheduling is ideal for those who are pursuing training in addition to working their current job.
Community College Programs
University tuition is more expensive than community college tuition, and that’s a fact. You can save thousands of dollars by attending your local community college. Even if your college is not NAACLS approved or accredited, once you are certified you should have no trouble securing employment.
Many schools offer phlebotomy technician training programs that last an average of fourteen weeks, and some even provide online components for those with busy schedules.
If you are successful in earning a certification upon completion of your training, and if you can retain the information you learned, the NAACLS approval does not matter.
You may think that once you’ve completed your training, you’re ready to begin working! While some doctors will take fresh, uncertified, candidates, it’s a far better idea to get certified. Employers prefer their potential employees to have certification, and it can be earned through three organizations.
How Long Does It Take to Become A Phlebotomist If I Seek Certification?
Becoming certified requires sitting an exam, passing that exam, and receiving your results. Most exams can be booked for immediate sitting, or even taken online at almost any time. Results and shipping of your certification may take anywhere from two weeks to a full month, so the time that certification adds to the process of becoming a phlebotomist if negligible.
American Medical Technologists
The best thing about the American Medical Technologists certification process is how clear-cut everything is. Their price is reasonable, your results are ready in less than a month, and the whole process is completed online.
Fee: $120 for Phlebotomist Technician exam
Notification of Results: 1-2 weeks.
Duration of Certification: One year, renewed annually.
Available Online: Yes.
National Center for Competency Testing
If you’ve graduated from a phlebotomy program within the last six months, you can save a little money by choosing the National Center for Competency Testing. They only charge $90 per examination for recent graduates. As with American Medical Technologists, they offer an annual renewal option.
Notification of Results: Not disclosed.
Duration of Certification: One year, renewed annually.
Available Online: Somewhat. The testing requires a set site and date.
American Society for Clinical Pathology
The ASCP Board of Certification provides this examination. Out of three options, this one is perhaps the most confusing. Instead of renewing yearly, the BOC offers certificate maintenance through a credits program. And at $135, this option is the most thanklessly expensive.
Notification of Results: Four days after taking the exam.
Duration of Certification: Uses a system of credits to maintain certification.
Available Online: Somewhat. Application process completed online but must physically arrive for the exam.
States That Require Certification
While most states do not require professional certification, many employers refuse to hire applicants that apply without one. In addition to this, it is essential to note that three states do require that all phlebotomists have proper certification.
These three states are:
Certification is a continual process that must be completed every year. Depending on the type of certification you received, you may either be required to pay a fee, take a small re-examination, or collect credential favor throughout the year. Be sure to check which process is specific to your needs before seeking certification.
For most certification organizations, the limit on a certificate’s validity is one year from the date of the exam.