Phlebotomists are responsible for drawing blood from patients that is then later used to run a host of laboratory tests. These tests are used to determine any health issues the patient may have, gauge the condition of a known issue and help physicians devise a course of action in the best interest of the patient. Starting off a career in phlebotomy is rewarding, but it’s not enough to train just to get the job. You must also complete Continuing Education Units (CEUs), essential for keeping your position or advancing your career within the medical field.
So what are CEUs? This article highlights what they are, their importance as they relate to those working in phlebotomy jobs, how to partake in them and their benefits.
What Are CEUS?
CEUs refer to units of credit that equal a specific number of participation hours in an accredited program specifically designed to keep professionals up to date on new technology and techniques and freshened up on old standards of practice. They are applicable for professionals, including doctors, engineers, lawyers, phlebotomists, pest control applicators and many, many others. If you are a professional, then it could be paramount that you undertake a specified number of CEUs annually to keep your practice, licenses or certificates current. You should note that the annual number of CEU credits varies by profession and state, so be sure to do your research before registering to make sure you will receive enough that you clear the requirements.
In 1968, the Department of Education commissioned a task force on continuing education and training, which later became the International Association for Continuing Education and Training. The IACET was responsible for developing CEUs and coming up with guidelines for continued education in certain professional fields until 2006, when the IACET became the ANSI Standard Developing Organization (SDO).
ANSI is the United States’ representative of the International Organization for Standardization, and it is tasked with strengthening the marketplace by ensuring health and safety standards are met for the benefit of consumers and to protect the environment.
IACET is the caretaker of CEUs and communicates standards that organizations should adopt in administering and creating programs that provide professionals with CEU opportunities. IACET has set the measure of one Continuing Education Unit to be 10 hours of participation in an organized CEU course of qualified instruction led by approved directors. CEU credits provide records of people who have completed at least one non-credit educational experience.
Who Awards CEUs?
CEU credits are awarded by organizations, companies, and educational institutions willing to meet IACET/ANSI standards established for specific industries.
Some professions demand the completion of a specific number of CEUs annually to ensure that working practitioners who come into contact with individuals or whose actions affect people and the environment are up-to-date with current practices.
Proof that you, as a professional, have completed the required number of CEU credits required is required for renewal or your license or certification. However, the number of CEU credits that you should complete to stay viable in your occupation vary by state and industry.
Importance of CEUs for Phlebotomists
CEUs are vital for phlebotomists since they frequently come into contact with patients and need to practice safe methods to prevent infections with the patient and false lab results due to contaminated specimens. If you are a phlebotomist, then CEUs give you an opportunity to learn, network and meet other phlebotomists.
Once you have earned CEUs, you can renew your license and ensure you can continue to practice with no obstacles and the confidence that you are keeping yourself up on the necessary practices to keep patients safe. In addition, you will enjoy job opportunities, increased remuneration and more knowledge about your profession as it develops over time. These are the reasons why your education should never end.
Phlebotomists have the added advantage of seeing and knowing a lot regarding a clinic or hospital setting. Thy work with different people, including patients, nurses, laboratory technicians, doctors and specialists. By pursuing CEU credits, they can better this knowledge and gain more experience about interacting with people in their clinical environment. They also get to experience a little of laboratory culture, know how to use equipment safely and use medical terminologies among other aspects.
CEU credits can help phlebotomists decide what to pursue in advancing their careers, particularly when they have an interest in a certain field. By attending CEUs, they will obtain the much-needed inspiration to move ahead with their goals in the medical field. This implies they will have an opportunity to advance their careers. If they want to move up to a managerial position or even become a physician someday, they will need CEUs so it is great to get familiar with the process.
The CEU credits for phlebotomists typically depend on the individual’s goals. Whether you want to grow your career, salary or even pursue a different position in the medical field, CEUs are vital to start with in the process. The only dedication and input you need is time and money, and your career can be as advanced as you would like it to be.
How to Partake in Continuing Education
We recommend that you check with your initial school or program where you first trained as a phlebotomist to see if it also offers CEU programs and when. That way, when you go to renew your license/certification you will already know about the process. There is a variety of CEU credits available that can offer you various areas of expertise.
For instance, advanced phlebotomy is becoming a more popular option for CEU education among phlebotomists. It is essential as it incorporates different techniques when it comes to drawing blood. Besides, you will focus on more advanced laboratory studies, or some specific medical areas, including geriatrics or trauma. Therefore, if you are a phlebotomist and you are looking for an area of specialization, you should consider enrolling in a CEU program to get you started.
You should note that most of the continuing education courses are much shorter than the initial training. Sometimes, they may take only three days, but this depends on the training offered. Additional certifications, as you might expect, may take a little longer.
Benefits of Earning CEU Credits
There are plenty of reasons as to why you need to continue your education. It is not only a requirement, but it can also help you in a variety of ways. For instance, one can get a promotion in your job they desire without putting an extra effort. CEUs will offer you an opportunity to change your career.
Some individuals are happy to take an eight-week course and become a phlebotomist technician and enjoy this career for the rest of their lives. While it is rewarding, you might be interested in career advancements. Most of the time you will work with various people, drawing blood on a daily basis, transferring it to the lab, and conduct basic lab procedures. However, if you take continued education, there is an opportunity for growth, including taking on a management role or becoming a specialist.
Specialists focus on one specific area, either patient services or collections. Either way, if you want a managerial position or want to become a specialist, additional certifications are required. It may take years of experience. These positions have more responsibilities, but also come with better pay.
Change in Career
Many people use CEUs as an opportunity to start off a career in the medical field. Some careers you could shift to as a phlebotomist include medical lab technicians and nursing. For instance, if you want to obtain a nursing degree as you work as a phlebotomist, you can either take online courses or hybrid avenues. You will also need to gain a diploma from a nursing program, which may take two or four years.
Medical lab technician career is a perfect fit for phlebotomists who might want to pursue a CEU. This is because you already have experience working in a laboratory. In addition, becoming an MLT can also be essential since you will improve your salary and responsibility. You start off with an MLT training and can later get an associate degree. While MLT education is more expensive compared to phlebotomy, you will have an opportunity to advance your career.
Some doctors even start off as phlebotomist technicians, but the education requirements are far greater compared to laboratory technicians or nurses. Some hospitals can help you pay for your continuing education if you stay on board with them. Therefore, we recommend that you check with your employer to see if they offer any help to continue your education.
CEUs are conducted and provided by organizations, companies and educational institutions that are willing to meet IACET/ANSI standards established for specific industries. The number of credits that you will need depends on which state or industry you are in. CEUs are essential for phlebotomists to renew their credentials and keep up with the latest industry and technology trends. In addition, you will enjoy advancements in job opportunities, increased compensation and more knowledge about your field. By completing CEUs, you will have an opportunity for growth, including taking on a management role or becoming a specialist. Your destiny depends on your focus and willingness to work. The CEUs will help you get there.