2013 Start Dates: October 19th, November 2nd, December 7th

“Phlebotomy” comes from the Greek words for “vessel” and “to make an incision.” In medicine, phlebotomy is the practice of drawing blood from a patient’s vein. The procedure, called venipuncture, uses a needle to make a small incision in the vein.

While doctors and nurses can do phlebotomy procedures, trained technicians called phlebotomists usually perform them. Phlebotomy technicians have an important role in clinical lab teams. New diagnostic techniques and lab technologies have increased the volume and need for medical lab testing.

Phlebotomy Technician Training

Phlebotomy technician training programs are three-month courses of academic study and practical experience. Students gain a wealth of experience during their three short months of school. Typical courses include cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and first aid, anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, communication and phlebotomy.

Phlebotomy technician classes show students how to draw blood, called a “stick.” Students practice their sticking skills on faculty, staff and other students. The training includes effective communication as well as practical procedures. This gives students confidence and prepares them for their externships.

Phlebotomy Technician Certification

Similar to medical internships, externships are opportunities for experiential learning. They give students short, practical experiences in their field of study. In most phlebotomy technician classes, students spend twice as much time in externships than in the classroom.

Students must complete their externships and pass a test to earn a phlebotomy technician certification. A certificate is required for work as phlebotomist, and phlebotomy can be a stepping-stone to other health careers. The phlebotomy technician certification program is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).

Phlebotomy Technician Programs

A number of challenges face phlebotomists as they go about their work. For example, they may encounter patients who are afraid of needles. Phlebotomy technician programs teach students how to communicate with patients and calm their fears.

Much of phlebotomy work involves preparing specimens for laboratory testing. Technician programs train students the proper procedures for collecting and processing blood, urine and other specimens. Graduates are qualified to work in hospitals, clinics and independent labs.

The job outlook for clinical lab workers, including phlebotomy technicians, is promising. According to the United States Department of Labor (DOL), employment opportunities are expected to grow faster than average for other professions. This is due to an increased volume of lab tests resulting from population growth and new testing technologies. There has never been a better time to pursue a career in phlebotomy.