They’re everywhere. In almost every hospital setting, doctor’s office, walk-in clinic or Urgent Care, you’ll find them. They patiently wait with their empty vials and syringes until a new patient needs their blood drawn and tested. They’re phlebotomists, often quietly going about their business of helping save lives.
Have you ever thought of becoming a phlebotomist? Are you ready to find out what it takes to become a phlebotomy technician? Looking to find out your next steps? Read out to find out if being a phlebotomist is right for you and what it takes to get there.
Is Phlebotomy a Good Career Choice?
Phlebotomy isn’t for everyone, but if you can stand the site of needles and blood, and you like working with people, you could be the right fit for the job. An entry-level position, it still has plenty of promise and possibility.
First and foremost, the position is in great demand. Many conditions can be diagnosed from a simple blood draw, which means there is a need for more phlebotomists to draw that blood. Yes, it’s considered an entry-level position, but becoming a phlebotomist is also a path to job security.
Phlebotomy is considered one of the “recession proof” job positions. As long as there are nurses, doctors and patients in hospitals, clinics, labs and ERs, there will be a need for phlebotomists. Because California requires certification (and thus, raises the required knowledge level for the position), there is currently a high demand in the state.
For example, according to ZipRecruiter, there are over 190 positions available in Oakland and over 80 phlebotomist positions open in Sacramento. Positions are open in places such as Kaiser Permanente, Quest Diagnostics, Cenergy International and United Health Systems, among others.
While you can – and many do – have a long-term career as a phlebotomist, it’s not the end of the career path. With additional training, you can follow the path down the road to higher levels, such as supervisor, or become a specialized phlebotomist. Or, you can use your certification and training to move to a different career path, such as being a specialist or a nurse.
According to Glassdoor, a phlebotomist can make anywhere from $34K to $53K per year in San Francisco. Oakland has an average base pay of $43,220, and up to $50K in Sacramento. It’s not the highest paying job in sunny California, but it’s definitely not the lowest.
The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics quotes the projected job growth between now and 2024 to be a whopping 25%, which is much faster growth than many other job positions.
Meet Interesting People
To be a good phlebotomist, it’s important to like working with people. Depending on where you work, it puts you on the frontline of patient care, and you’ll meet all age groups and demographics of people. From Baby Boomers to Generation Alphas, they’ll each have their stories and experiences to share with you.
You’ll have the opportunity to ease their fears-not just of needles or blood, but fears about the possibility of having any number of life-threatening diseases. We need more great phlebotomists who know how to provide a comfortable experience and have the bedside manner to go with it.
Becoming a Certified Phlebotomy Technician
If being a phlebotomist sounds like the job for you, you need to learn what it takes to become one.
As with most medical positions, the steps to becoming a phlebotomist depend on the state you live in but are pretty simple. Some states don’t require certification to become a phlebotomy technician; California requires you to be a certified technician to draw blood.
To getting training as a phlebotomist in the State of California, you’ll need to be 18, have a high school diploma or GED, and have a current driver’s license in the state. It’s also required that you have current immunization records.
Required Previous Certification
You’ll also need to have a current AHA BLS certification. Project Heartbeat offers BLS certification and recertification courses for $60 and $55 respectively. Our Basic Life Support class provides you with the emergency training necessary to competently handle medical emergencies that may crop up during your services.
Once you have met the requirements above, you are capable of taking the steps to become a certified phlebotomy technician.
Getting Your Phlebotomy Technician Certification
To be eligible for the Phlebotomy Technician Certificate in California, you’ll need:
- a minimum of 70 hours didactic instruction and skills laboratory
- at least 40 hours of supervised externship experience
- to pass the NCCT (National Center for Competency Test)
- apply for licensure from the California Department of Public Health
Project Heartbeat has a 5-week Phlebotomy Technician Certificate Program at our Oakland campus to get you ready for California certification. Students learn basic and advanced information, including how to draw blood safely and how to control blood borne pathogens among others.
If you’re interested in becoming a phlebotomist, take a moment to look over our Phlebotomy Technician Certificate Program. Our current class has only one seat left, but if it’s taken, please call 510.452.1100, ext 0 to express your interest in another opening, or to be put on the waiting list in case of a cancellation.
Remember, phlebotomy isn’t for everyone, but if you’re looking for an entry-level position in the medical field with high demand, the potential for job growth and the ability to work with people, it could just be for you. We look forward to seeing you in our classes!