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How to start your medical career as a phlebotomist

Phlebotomy: A smart career choice

For people keen to join the booming healthcare industry, starting off as a phlebotomist is an excellent option. Deemed an entry level job, a phlebotomist is a specialist who removes blood from the patient, through incision or otherwise. Depending on your aptitude, you can subsequently move up the career ladder to assume such roles as nursing assistant, certified nurse etc. 

So what does it take to become a phlebotomist in California? Let us take a look, sequentially, at the requirements you have to fulfill before you can join the workforce as a certified and licensed phlebotomist. 

Academic requirements

Academically, the requirements are rather modest. If you have successfully completed high school, and are 18 years old, you are qualified to enroll for phlebotomy course. It further helps if you have taken biology and chemistry subjects in your high school. Candidates who have not completed their high school need to complete GED.

Enroll in a phlebotomy technician school California

The next step is to enroll yourself at a phlebotomy school. The training program to become a phlebotomist is one of short duration, typically lasting less than a year. The course essentially imparts both theoretical and practical knowledge about drawing blood including venipuncture, operating varied laboratory equipment, and learning safety protocols. 

You should exercise particular caution when choosing your phlebotomy training school. Especially in California, where there are strict guidelines to follow, you would be well advised to carry out a proper due diligence before settling on a school. In particular, the due diligence checklist should include the following when choosing certified phlebotomy technician schools California. 

1) 40 hours of phlebotomy class training;
2) 40 hours of phlebotomy practical training; 
3) Opportunity to complete at least 50 venipunctures and 10 skin punctures; and
4) Training programs to get you ready for certification exams conducted by the 6 recognized certifying organizations. 

Get certified

The third and final step before you start work is to get yourself certified as a phlebotomist. While in certain states, you can commence your practice without any formal certification, this is not the case in California. 
In California, effective from April 9, 2003, individuals performing the role of phlebotomists must be certified as such. The certification itself comes in three different flavors:

1) Limited phlebotomy technician: Holders of this certificate are permitted only to carry out skin puncture blood withdrawals. 
2) Certified phlebotomy technician I: In addition to above, the holders of this certificate can also carry out venipunctures. 
3) Certified phlebotomy technician II: In addition to all the tasks performed by CPT level I technician, the holders of this advanced certificate can also carry out arterial punctures. 

While you can obtain phlebotomy licenses any time of the year, you should remember that, in California, your certificate in valid only for two years. After expiry, you must reapply for its renewal after following the due process.