How Long Does It Take to Become a Phlebotomist?
Wondering how long does it take to become a phlebotomist? Well today, we’ll be going over this topic in full detail, explaining everything that’s required to become a phlebotomist as well as the estimated duration to complete it. Knowing how long it will take to complete training and get hired is a very important aspect when pursuing a job, as you don’t want to take forever before you can start earning an income. So, without any further ado, let’s find out how long does it take to become a phlebotomist!
How Long Does It Take To Become a Phlebotomist?
So, how long does it take to become a phlebotomist? The answer can vary depending on how you choose to pursue training. The main time constituent will be your training, as training programs can vary in length. The typical phlebotomist training program will last anywhere from 3 months to a year. Most programs however fall within the range of 3 to 6 months. Please take note that these are accredited training programs we are talking about and are the only programs that we recommend, as completing one will help to boost an aspiring phlebotomist’s resume while also providing the qualifications to complete a certification exam. Completing and passing a certification exam automatically makes you a certified phlebotomist, which are required in a few states and we will address ahead.
A phlebotomist training program consists of two separate portions, a lecture section as well as a clinical skills section. The lecture section will focus on topics such as medical terminology, human anatomy, physiology, and of course legal and safety procedures. Meanwhile, the clinical skills section will teach you all the hands-on skills you’ll need to succeed as a phlebotomist. This includes handling blood safely, how to use lab equipment, venipunctures, fingersticks, order of draw, patient interaction skills, universal safety precautions, clerical tasks, record keeping, etc.
Phlebotomist training programs are offered by community colleges, technical, and trade schools. The amount of hours you will have to complete will depend on your state’s requirements as well as that particular program’s pace.
However, there is also the option to receive training for free. This will require you to apply for jobs that offer on-the-job training. Typically, hospitals are your best bet for finding on-the-job training although they last about the same amount of time as a typical accredited phlebotomist training program. On-the-job training often implies that you will work for that particular workplace exclusively and that you demonstrate that you are fit to become a phlebotomist. The only downside to on-the-job training, however, is that they are harder to find and are not accredited so they won’t help you immediately become certified. You will have to wait until you have about 1 year of clinical experience in a laboratory before you can qualify for the phlebotomist certification exam.
So, that should answer the question of how long does it take to become a phlebotomist. Training programs will last around 3 months to a year (even for on-the-job training), and then there’s also the matter of whether you choose to become certified or not. Certification is not mandatory for the majority of states except for California, Nevada, Louisiana, and Washington. But even though it isn’t mandatory, we highly recommend completing the process as it is simple to do once you’ve received accredited training or have had at least 1 year of on-the-job clinical experience. All it takes is passing a certification exam offered by a state-approved agency in order to become certified and the benefits of it is lasting if you stick with the job. So essentially, if you complete a 6 month training program and schedule and pass the certification exam the next week, you’ll be able to become a phlebotomist in 6 months.
Besides making you a skilled phlebotomist, having a better chance of getting hired, and showing your employers a professional attitude and commitment to the job, a certified phlebotomist also makes an average of 10% more than their counterparts who are not certified. This can be worth it over time if you are really committed to phlebotomy. To find an accredited phlebotomy training program, you can use this tool provided by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). Simply choose the PHLEB option for program type and select your state to find suitable programs in your area.
Once you have completed an accredited course or have had at least 1 year of experience in a clinical setting, you will be qualified to take the certification exam which is offered by these major agencies (approved in all states):
- American Certification Agency for Healthcare Professionals (ACA)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT/MMCI)
- National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS)
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- National Phlebotomy Continuing Education (NPCE)
And that’s all there is to it! Where you choose to receive training as well as whether you choose to become certified or not will dictate how long does it take to become a phlebotomist. So if you are really interested in becoming a phlebotomist, you can start crafting your strategy plan!