How DO I choose a phlebotomy program

So, you have heard from all your friends that becoming a phlebotomist is the next best thing.  Well… it could be.  Phlebotomist draw your blood.  They are the ones who poke you with a needle to collect blood samples which are sent to a lab for testing.  Here in California, you are required to be licensed by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to work as a Phlebotomist.  For the little amount of training required, the starting pay is pretty good, which means the job market is competitive. The task of drawing blood can also be stressful for some people.  You need a steady hand.  You need to be organized and you have to like to work with people. Phlebotomist work in many different environments.  Phlebotomist are needed at doctor’s clinics to draw blood from patients.  Laboratories require licensed phlebotomist for their blood draws.  Hospitals have many phlebotomists on staff running around attending to inpatients and outpatients.  Phlebotomist are even needed for paramedical companies for “mobile phlebotomy” – these are special phlebotomist who typically visit people’s homes to collect blood samples from clients (usually for life insurance applications).  In terms of average salaries for CPTs we feel’s survey is pretty accurate – View Here

What are the course details?

Most students start the program having no prior training drawing blood.  If you have prior training, for example, if you were a Phlebotomist from another state and moving to California, you could qualify as an Advance student (more on this later).  Most students qualify as beginners and have to complete a state-approved 80+ hour training course.  You have to be over 18 years or older and have a High School Diploma, GED, or better.  Your school may have other prerequisites so check each program carefully.  You also want to check if the program you want to enroll in is an approved program by the CDPH – Very important!

Let’s talk about experienced Advance students.  Advanced students fall into 2 categories.  By the way, tons of detail can be found in this phlebotomy decision matrix.  Generally speaking, if you’re an experienced Phlebotomist you will either have less than 1040 hours of recent phlebotomy job experience OR equal or greater than 1040 hours.  <1040 hours mean you have to take both Beginner and Advance classroom (aka. Didactic) portions of the course and you must prove (your prior employer has to sign off on you) that you have completed the necessary blood draws.  If you have >1040 hours then you only need to complete the Advance portion of the course.  In our experience, many students who qualify for the >1040 hours Advance course still fail the Phlebotomy Board exam so we always advise you take both Beginner and Advance to save you the trouble and time. What’s in the last 40 hours you might ask?  The first 40 hours is classroom lectures and last 40 hours is externship training.  Keep in mind, some schools may have more than 80 hours combined, 80 hours is just the minimum required by CDPH.  Classroom lecture is self-explanatory obviously, but externship may not be so clear.  When you start your externship, you will be sent to a off-campus location that is usually a clinic, lab, hospital, where blood draws are conducted.  Some might say this is on-the-job training but it isn’t really.  During externship you’re required to complete a minimum 50 venipunctures and 10 skin punctures.  You will not be issued your CPT1 license without completing this very important requirement.  Most good schools find an externship site for you, but you are free to find your own as well.  You know that phlebotomist friend of yours?  Ask him/her if you can complete your hours at their site.

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