In 2019 there were over 130,000 phlebotomists nationwide. These medical professionals are responsible for drawing blood from patients which goes on to be used in critical lab tests and procedures. Phlebotomists also use their skills at blood donation centers. In addition, they need a good bedside manner to help patients and donors feel less nervous having their blood drawn. In order to safely and effectively collect samples, most employers look for professionally certified phlebotomists.
Before attempting the certification exam, prospective phlebotomists must understand the theory and techniques behind the work. Phlebotomy programs educate students on a variety of topics such as medical terminology, legal issues, safety concerns, professionalism, anatomy, and physiology. These certificate programs include hands-on opportunities for students to perfect their techniques. Through laboratory classes, clinicals, and practicums, phlebotomy students are trained how to collect blood samples, handle specimens, and perform procedures safely.
Once a phlebotomist successfully passes the national certification exam, they can enter the healthcare field and work alongside nurses and doctors in hospitals, labs, and other medical facilities. The position offers a quickly growing job market with many jobs available in various shifts.
Phlebotomist careers are projected to grow 17% over the next decade, much faster than average for most careers. This rapid growth is due to the fact that blood analysis is an essential function in medical laboratories and hospitals. The demand for phlebotomists will remain high as many patients need blood work done for analysis and diagnosis. Additionally, heightened interest in blood donations comes with an increase of jobs at donation centers. Phlebotomists nationwide earn a median annual wage of over $36,000.
So how exactly do you become a certified phlebotomist? Check out this unranked list of 10 of the best schools for phlebotomy in the United States.
Eastern Florida State College (Cocoa, FL)
The phlebotomy program at Eastern Florida State College consists of a six-week course with lab taught at either the Cocoa or Palm Bay campus. The selective program accepts only 20 students in the fall and ten each spring or summer due to the intensive education provided. EFSC students will participate in an orientation with informative videos, an interview, and certifications to ensure that they are a good fit for the program.
In the classroom, students will learn theory behind blood collection, safety and infection control, bloodborne pathogen handling, and specimen processing. The instructors at EFSC care about their students and want to see them succeed.
After students properly understand the theory behind phlebotomy, they partake in 100 hours of supervised clinical experience. After completing classroom lectures, laboratory instruction, and clinical placement, graduates can take the national certification exam.
Galveston College (Galveston, TX)
The 10-week phlebotomy program at Galveston allows students to acquire the skills and technical training necessary to succeed in full-time positions. The program’s small class sizes support student-teacher engagement and plenty of opportunities for hands-on training.
The phlebotomy program cites an average hourly wage of $15 and a market growth of 33%.
Upon completion, students will be competent and experienced in performing venipuncture, dermal puncture, and other specimen collection methods. These skills are in demand across the medical field.
Galveston offers additional economic help for eligible students through scholarships and payment plans. The program costs include textbooks, study guides, and a sponsored attempt at the certification exam. In addition, evening classes and clinics are available for working students. After completion, students are encouraged to take the National Healthcare Association Certified Phlebotomy Technician exam.
Miami Dade College (Miami, FL)
For tuition costs of approximately $500 and 16 weeks of instruction, Miami Dade College students are prepared for entry-level positions in the healthcare field in just one semester of training. In the classroom, phlebotomy students are taught safe and efficient work practices in obtaining, labeling, and transporting blood samples. The program stresses Center for Disease Control guidelines for diseases such as HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis B.
After students understand the background technical knowledge and theory, they are assigned to a clinical facility in Miami Dade County. Phlebotomists that graduate from MDC Medical are in high demand due to the quality education and hands-on practical knowledge. The program boasts an impressive 97% graduation rate. After graduating, students can pursue other careers such as a medical lab technician, a medical lab assistant, or a nurse.
College of Southern Nevada (Las Vegas, NV)
The College of Southern Nevada’s phlebotomy program is selective entry, meaning that candidates must meet prerequisite requirements to be considered. These requirements ensure that students are adequately prepared for rigorous instruction and practical experience.
Students in the phlebotomy program take three courses, including lecture, laboratory, and a clinical practicum. They learn essential venipuncture, sample handling, and processing skills to collect samples from “hard to stick” patients. CSN also understands that phlebotomists need computer, communication, and legal skills along with technical abilities. The clinical practicum provides plenty of opportunities to practice a variety of skills through 120 hours of training within a 3 week period.
After completing the program, students earn a Certificate of Completion and are eligible to take a national certifying exam. Phlebotomists from CSN work in hospital labs, outpatient collection sites, toxicology labs, surgery centers, doctors’ offices, and clinics.
Eastern New Mexico University (Roswell, NM)
Eastern New Mexico University’s phlebotomy lasts two semesters and results in a Certificate of Employability. The curriculum focuses on different methods of drawing blood along with the application of blood-borne pathogen skills and OSHA standards. Although the coursework is designed for students seeking a career in phlebotomy, students in other allied health programs have the opportunity to broaden their skills.
Throughout the 18 credit hours, students take courses such as Medical Terminology, Anatomy and Physiology, Introduction to Phlebotomy, Professional Development, and Basic Life Support. These courses train phlebotomists to work alongside other medical professionals such as nurses, blood bank employees, EMTs, surgeons, and laboratory sciences. In addition to introductory courses, students will participate in a skills assessment, practicum, and exam review.
After completing the comprehensive program, phlebotomist graduates are eligible to take the American Society of Clinical Pathologists (ASCP) certification exam.
St. Catherine University (St. Paul, MN)
Prospective phlebotomists can earn a certificate in one semester through a three-course competency-based program at St. Catherine University. The instruction is a combination of classroom education and hands-on experience that teaches interpersonal skills. Phlebotomists must utilize proper communication techniques with clients and other medical professionals. After the program, graduates will be qualified to work as a phlebotomist in a variety of healthcare settings. One common career path is to become a phlebotomy technician by passing the ASCP certification exam after graduation.
The phlebotomy program at St. Catherine University was one of the first to be approved by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences. The renowned program has been approved since 1987. Its reputation has allowed many St. Catherine’s students to find a job before they even graduate. Graduates work in hospitals, clinics, laboratories, home healthcare, and blood donor agencies.
Montana State University (Bozeman, MT)
The phlebotomy program at Montana State University consists of an instructional course and a clinical placement. The classroom instruction combines 20 hours of online teaching with 15 hours of face-to-face learning. Students learn the theory behind phlebotomy, infection control, legal proceedings, equipment, and common procedures.
To adequately prepare phlebotomy students for certification exams, students also participate in hands-on learning. MSU phlebotomy students perform 100 intensive clinical hours at a local clinic or hospital. Popular locations include the Bozeman Deaconess Hospital and the Madison Valley Medical Center. While on clinical, students apply many procedural aspects of the job, such as collecting blood specimens, testing, and informatics.
MSU endorses successful students to take the Certified Phlebotomy Technician exam and further their career as a phlebotomist.
Dixie State University (St. George, UT)
The one-semester phlebotomy course at Dixie State University costs $60 for the laboratory and certificate, with additional costs for immunizations and screenings as necessary. These are necessary to safely practice venipuncture procedures on each other as part of the laboratory experience.
The program is best for students with strong interpersonal skills and a proven interest in healthcare. The curriculum will teach DSU students how to collect high-quality blood specimens. Additionally, they will gain experience communicating as a member of an interdisciplinary healthcare team to best support patient care.
West Virginia University (Parkersburg, WV)
The WVU phlebotomy program is a condensed curriculum certification to prepare students for employment and a prompt return to the workforce. Students are prepared to sit for the National Phlebotomy exam through a thorough curriculum if they choose to take it.
The program requires over 130 hours of instruction, with 94.5 hours of classroom learning and 38.5 hours of clinical practice. In the classroom, students are familiar with all aspects of blood collection, including the skills to safely and completely perform venipunctures. In addition, the coursework covers terminology, anatomy and physiology, medical procedures, and handling specimens.
Colorado Mesa University (Grand Junction, CO)
At Colorado Mesa University, the phlebotomy course only accepts 12 students each semester. Candidates are selected based on their prior experience with patient care and interactions with the Department of Health Sciences staff and programs.
This selective course focuses on venipuncture and dermal sample collection for laboratory testing. The professors teach students to limit errors related to processing through a combination of online and face-to-face instruction. Students also learn point of care testing, informatics, legal issues, ethical concerns, professionalism, and licensure.