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Job Description of a Phlebotomy Technician

Phlebotomy technicians, otherwise known as phlebotomists, collect and prepare blood samples for laboratory testing. Most phlebotomists work in hospital laboratories, but they may also work in blood banks, commercial laboratories, clinics, and other places where blood is drawn. Like other careers in the health care industry, there are numerous job opportunities available to phlebotomy technicians.

Responsibilities

Phlebotomy technicians are responsible for collecting and preparing blood samples which will undergo laboratory testing. They must have an understanding of safety procedures which must be followed to prevent the spread of infectious diseases when handling and collecting blood samples. Phlebotomists also must be familiar with skin puncture, venipuncture, and arterial collection techniques. It is necessary for phlebotomy techs to know what tests are required and how medications or diet can affect the results.

Training

Phlebotomy technicians must complete on-the-job training or enroll in educational training programs, which consists primarily of hands-on training. Programs for phlebotomy training are available at many community colleges, vocational and technical schools and at some health care facilities. Training for phlebotomy technicians generally consist of safety, handling and collection of venous blood specimens, and skin puncture techniques, according to the Florida Area Health Education Centers.

Certification

Most states do not currently require phlebotomy technicians to become certified after they have completed training programs. However, becoming a certified phlebotomist can be beneficial because it increases a technician's chances of finding employment. The National Phlebotomy Association, the American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians, and the American Society of Clinical Pathologists are a few of the credentialing agencies which provide certification for phlebotomists.

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Skills

Phlebotomy technicians are recommended to have a strong background in a variety of areas of science, such as anatomy and physiology, biology and chemistry. Completing a training program in phlebotomy is one of the best ways to prepare for this career. A familiarity with computers is also useful.

Significance

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, median hourly wages for phlebotomists range from $12.50 for hospitals and private clinics to about $13 for physician office laboratories. Job opportunities for phlebotomists and other clinical laboratory technicians are expected to grow by 14 percent between 2008 and 2018 .



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