Phlebotomy Schools: Tips and Advice on Education Requirements

Phlebotomy schools train enrolled students in procedures of safe blood collection for medical testing, donations, or transfusions. A phlebotomy specialist is able to take blood samples from patients by intravenous needles, finger pricks, and heel pricks according to patient age and medical condition. The vast majority of entry-level phlebotomy jobs require completion of a certification program at a vocational school or community college. Graduates from a reputable phlebotomy school usually enjoy steady employment and good salaries. Aspiring medical professionals usually have a competitive career advantage once they complete one of these programs.

Selecting a Phlebotomy School

There are many schools across the country which offer phlebotomy programs

Most phlebotomy schools combine classroom learning with hands-on lab practice. Some may also have coursework to be completed online. Common subjects required of phlebotomy students include medical vocabulary and patient communication. Some states and regions require graduates to pass a licensure exam in order to work as phlebotomy technicians, so a quality school prepares each student to pass all sections of this exam.

Another aspect of finding a good school program is the lab practice component. Students who complete a significant number of practice hours are often the best prepared to put their skills to work in a clinical setting. Instructor supervision and help during lab practice are also important parts of an effective learning environment. A few online colleges offer phlebotomy certification programs that are entirely web-based, though some of them require students to arrange their own lab practice sessions.

Admission Requirements

Phlebotomy schools have minimum admission requirements

The first minimum admission requirement for phlebotomy school admission is a high school diploma or its equivalent. Some schools may also require certain scores on entry level mathematics and reading tests. Although usually not required, high school students planning on applying to a phlebotomy school are encouraged to take plenty of science courses, such as biology, chemistry, and human anatomy. This coursework will provide a good foundation for learning phlebotomy technician skills and procedures.

Some competitive phlebotomy school may also look at exam scores on achievement tests such as the SAT’s in the US or the A Levels in the UK. Good scores on these exams in the sciences can increase chances of admission in many cases. For students without these exam scores, some colleges may require passing grades in general education mathematics and science courses prior to program admission. Common examples of these courses include basic biology and beginning college algebra. Working as a phlebotomy technician generally does not entail advanced mathematical calculations, although a good understanding of basic math concepts will help with correct measurement of blood sample volumes.

Other admission requirements for most phlebotomy schools are a minimum age of 18 and the ability to communicate in both spoken and written English. Second language learners may need to take an ESL placement test and complete coursework to improve their English skills before being admitted. Many programs also require new applicants to submit to a criminal background check and to be free of any felony or misdemeanor charges.

As a condition of eligibility for clinical learning, phlebotomy program applicants usually need to have a basic physical exam to ensure they are free from communicable diseases. These exams usually include testing for tuberculosis and other common contagious ailments. Students who meet all other admission requirements also need to submit proof of basic health insurance coverage.

Clinical Requirements

Most phlebotomy certification programs last for one to two school years. Clinical hands-on practice usually begins in the second semester. This component requires students to purchase and wear medical scrubs for work in this type of lab setting. Some schools may also require CPR certification and demonstrated knowledge of safety and sterilization procedures as a condition of lab practice.

A number of high quality phlebotomy schools have both academic and practical requirements. The good news about these requirements is that most are fairly easy to meet for a majority of applicants. Students who work to learn the material and who follow all procedures are those who do well in these programs. Some schools include a required internship or externship program for students in their final semesters of study. These normally entail a certain number of work hours spent in a clinical setting such as a hospital or blood donation center. Interns take advantage of these requirements as opportunities to apply what they have learned in the classroom. Graduates who complete these internships in phlebotomy often find their first entry level technician jobs fairly quickly. New phlebotomy school graduates often have their choices of job positions in a range of different medical or research facilities.