Job Description: Phlebotomy Technician

Phlebotomy Technician Job Duties | Phlebotomy Technician Schools | Phlebotomy Technician Salary | Phlebotomy Technician Pros and Cons


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The role of a Phlebotomy Technician in the healthcare industry is an important one. The primary task of phlebotomy technicians is to collect blood samples from patients. Preparation of the blood samples for various tests and procedures is the second most important job of a phlebotomy technician.

The demand for phlebotomy technicians is high, and individuals with the right qualifications will find it relatively easy to secure employment in hospitals, private clinics, blood banks, nursing homes and blood laboratories.

Read the description below about the field of phlebotomy and see if it's the right career choice for you.

What Are The Job Duties Of A Phlebotomy Technician

· The principal role of the phlebotomy technician is to draw blood from patients and prepare the blood samples for tests and procedures.
· Explain procedures to patients walking them through the blood drawing process, testing and other procedures.
· Provide a calm environment for patients in which blood samples are drawn.
· Prepare the area for blood samples to be drawn by cleaning the area, applying the right amount of pressure and making sure the area is safe after the blood sample is taken.
· Use the proper personal protective equipment to ensure patient and personal safety at all times.
· Store blood samples by following different procedures related to the specific purpose for which each sample is drawn; put blood samples in accurately marked containers, add stains to the blood samples as required and complete preparation of samples for specific tests.
· Monitor vital signs such as blood pressure, heart rate and respiratory readings of a patient when working as part of a medical team.
· Update patient records with detailed patient information and blood test results through computer data entry and record keeping.
· Take responsibility for the laboratory area where blood samples are drawn including preparation and clean up of the area.
· Maintain inventory of equipment used for drawing blood samples.
· Transport blood samples to the laboratory for testing purposes.
· Perform clerical duties that may include reception work, write out requests for blood sample taking, clean and sterilize equipment, answer telephones.
· Depending on where the phlebotomy technician is employed, duties may include the collection of other specimens for laboratory analysis. For example, collection of urine and fecal samples and delivery of the samples to the laboratory for testing.
· In some facilities, the phlebotomist will be tasked with testing blood and urine samples.

Phlebotomy technicians need to demonstrate patience and care for the patient when explaining the procedures. Phlebotomists need to have good patient handling skills, a caring attitude, customer service skills, attention to detail and a high level of accuracy in this role.

What Type of Degree is Needed To Be A Phlebotomy Technician

Traditionally, phlebotomy technicians were primarily responsible for drawing blood samples from patients and preparing the samples for testing in a laboratory. As the field of phlebotomy continues to advance and the demand for phlebotomy technicians increases, the scope of a phlebotomist’s role has continued to expand.

Today’s phlebotomist is required to have knowledge of the different types of tests conducted on blood samples; the importance of timing in the collection of blood samples; effects of a patient’s diet on the samples taken, and medications the patient is taking that may interfere with certain types of testing.

In all but two states in America, phlebotomy technicians are not required by law to acquire certification. Regardless, there are very few healthcare institutions that will hire uncertified phlebotomists, given the ever expanding scope of their responsibilities.

To become a phlebotomy technician, students need to complete a phlebotomy training program. Community colleges and technical schools across the U.S. offer enrolment in various clinical, theoretical and practical subjects such as blood collection techniques, CPR, medical terminology, patient interactions and legal issues. The programs are generally short term, lasting approximately ten weeks in duration.

Phlebotomy technicians complete an associate degree or a bachelor’s degree; neither program is a job requirement. Completing the phlebotomy program is the common requirement amongst potential employers since the program covers the basics of the profession.

The American Medical Technologists, the American Society for Phlebotomy Technicians and the American Society for Clinical Pathology offer certification or registration. Testing conducted by these institutions results in successful students being awarded the title of Certified Phlebotomy Technician (CPT) or Registered Phlebotomy Technician (RPT).

Phlebotomy technicians are at high risk of coming into contact with infected blood. Knowledge of stringent medical procedures for handling risks and disposal policies is a necessary part of being awarded certification. There are six career paths for obtaining the Certified Phlebotomy Technician award. Students need to demonstrate thorough knowledge in related medical procedures, policies and terminology; how to choose appropriate areas for drawing blood samples; how to choose the best method to draw and handle blood samples; how to prepare equipment, patients and blood samples; how to evaluate patient situations.

To maintain certification certified phlebotomy technicians need to obtain continuing education credits or complete a certification management program.

Some states in America like California require Phlebotomy technicians to be licensed to secure legal employment in the state. Legal requirements vary in each state and the health licensing department will provide state specific information.

What Is The Salary Of A Phlebotomy Technician

As with most jobs in the healthcare industry there is an increasing demand for phlebotomy technicians. A certified phlebotomy technician will for the most part be employed on probation. The probationary period is the time given to the individual to learn how to apply knowledge and skills in real-life situations. Some institutions offer what is termed as training pay for this period. According to the American Society of Clinical Pathologists (ASCP), phlebotomy technicians earn approximately $13 per hour. This figure is based on the average median annual salary for phlebotomy technicians, which stands at $27,040 before taxes.

Salaries for phlebotomy technicians are field experience based. Newly certified phlebotomists with 0-1 year of experience will generally earn approximately $25,000 a year. The salary is based on a 40 hour week and an approximate hourly wage of $12. Phlebotomy technicians with 1-4 years of experience will generally earn approximately $26,000 a year. The salary is based on a 40 hour week and an approximate weekly wage of $500. Phlebotomy technicians with 5-9 years of work experience can earn on average $28,500 annually; phlebotomy technicians with 10-19 years of work experience can earn on average $31,243 annually and phlebotomy technicians with 20 plus years of work experience can earn on average $32.500 annually.

Phlebotomy Technician Wages

National annualized data shows: the average hourly rate for a phlebotomy technician, ranges between $9 and $17; the hourly overtime rate for a phlebotomy technician, ranges between $6.50 and $26; the bonus for a phlebotomy technician ranges between $9 and $1,174 approximately. Overall annual pay scales range between $19,366 and $36,945 for a phlebotomy technician.

The pay scales for phlebotomy technicians will vary based on education, experience, responsibilities in the job, working hours, certification and size of employer institution. Benefits typically include paid vacation, sick leave, holidays, premium health grade medical insurance, retirement benefits (401K) and possible reimbursement for re-certification.

The employment scene within the healthcare industry is extremely healthy at present. As the population ages and baby boomers move into the life phase where medical attention is needed more frequently, the demand for healthcare workers continues to rise. The demand for phlebotomy technicians is on the rise as more people need blood drawn and blood work tested. Because phlebotomists can work in a variety of environments, the demand for this profession has increased considerably. The experts consider it one of the hot professions, but the competition is quite fierce. Phlebotomy technicians need to continue their education, get certified, and/or licensed, to gain an edge over the competition.

According to statistical reports, Alaska, Connecticut, California, Columbia and Delaware are some of the highest paying states for phlebotomy technicians. Puerto Rico, Alabama, Kansas and Georgia pay the lowest annual salaries for phlebotomy technicians.

(Figures are approximate and have been rounded off to the nearest full number)

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Being A Phlebotomy Technician

In every job there are advantages and disadvantages; the same holds good for phlebotomy technicians. The advantages include:

· As the medical field continues to advance technologically, breaking new ground in various areas, the healthcare industry is one of the best employment sectors. The demand for phlebotomy technicians is on the rise as healthcare facilities struggle to find qualified staff for their teams.
· Phlebotomy technicians are free to choose from a number of career paths including Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), Licensed Practice Nurses (LPN), Certified Medical Assistants (CMA) and Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVN).
· Phlebotomy technicians can choose from a variety of working environments including laboratories, doctor’s offices, hospitals, blood donation facilities, nursing homes and other healthcare facilities.
· Pay scales are fairly decent and expected to rise on a parallel with the increased demand for phlebotomy technicians.
· The benefits that a phlebotomist enjoys are a major plus because it can even include reimbursement of re-certification costs.

The downside to becoming a phlebotomy may be attributed to the following negative aspects in the job:

· The role of a phlebotomy technician requires tremendous attention to detail and being constantly alert.
· Inaccuracy in labeling and delivery blood samples can cause a lot of problems for the patient and the healthcare facility. The threat of being sued legally for errors in labeling or getting samples and blood work mixed up is quite real.
· There is a degree of stress in the job in handling patients who are scared of having blood drawn, with a lot of patience.
· Some phlebotomy technicians work alone within a larger office. The responsibility for the work area and all its functions can lead to a stressful environment.