Determining a long term career path is necessary to choose the best phlebotomy courses. There are many directions that a career in phlebotomy can go, and choosing the right mix of classes can make finding a job and advancing throughout your career much easier. At its most basic level, phlebotomy is the practice of drawing blood.
Phlebotomists may work in the hospital or mobile setting. They collect blood, either for tests, or for blood donation. A phlebotomist who has only taken basic phlebotomy courses will draw blood from a vein using a technique called venipuncture. If only a small amount of blood is needed, they may use a small lancet to obtain blood by sticking the finger.
There are more advanced techniques in phlebotomy, and carefully choosing phlebotomy courses that teach these skills provide more career options. Some phlebotomists receive specialized training in order to draw blood from arteries. Arteries, which carry blood away from the heart, have much more pressure on them than veins, and when an artery is compromised blood is released with great force. Phlebotomists who take special courses learn how to safely draw blood from arteries located around the wrists.
Phlebotomists are permitted to give intramuscular and subcutaneous injections. For a phlebotomist hoping to work in the hospital setting, or in a physician’s office, these skills are valuable. The ability to administer injections reduces the workload on more highly paid doctors and nurses, which saves the facility money. Taking phlebotomy courses that teach proper injection protocol can be very valuable.
Regulations vary, but some states allow phlebotomists to perform saline flushes and administer Heparin. Again, these are valuable skills that reduce costs to the employer, making people with this training more valuable. If you move from a state where phlebotomists are not permitted to perform these tasks, to one where they are, continuing education phlebotomy courses that cover these skills make a good investment.
While some career centers provide two to four month certification programs in phlebotomy, many phlebotomists choose to earn an Associate degree. Community colleges often offer a two year program of phlebotomy courses that combines phlebotomy skills with other related subjects. At the end of two years, the graduate is trained as a clinical laboratory technician. This training opens up many more career opportunities to the phlebotomist, as does certification through the American Society of Clinical Pathologists, American Association of Medical Personnel, National Phlebotomy Association, or another of the variety of credentialing agencies in the health care field.