The first step to a career in phlebotomy is a high school diploma. Graduating with a good grade point average and plenty of science classes will build a foundation for your education. Next, you must apply to a phlebotomy training program. These classes, which last for six months to a year in most cases, are typically held at community colleges. In the Los Angeles area, you can attend phlebotomy courses at the Kaiser Permanente School of Allied Health Sciences or at the UCLA Center for Prehospital Care.
During your training, you'll learn about human anatomy, medical terminology, preparing the patient, the procedure of drawing blood, preventing infectious diseases, and other topics that will be relevant to your career. Most programs consist of about 40 hours of classroom training, at which point you'll be eligible for clinical training. During this phase of the program, you'll learn how to do a variety of blood draw techniques, including venipuncture (when a large quantity of blood is taken directly from the blood vessel), heel stick, finger stick, and other procedures.
Upon graduation from the program you choose, you'll be eligible for phlebotomy certification in Los Angeles. In California, you must be certified as a phlebotomist before being hired to practice. Before taking the test, you must complete at least 40 classroom hours and 40 clinical hours that include at least 50 venipunctures and 10 skin punctures.
There are six organizations that provide the certification exam:
- ACA (574) 277-4538;
- AMT, (800) 275-1268;
- ASCP (312) 738-1336;
- NCCT/MMCI (800) 875-4404;
- NCA (913) 438-5110; and
- NHA (800) 499-9092
Passing the certification test from any of these groups qualifies you to work as a phlebotomist in Los Angeles; you also must pay a fee to the state of California for your license.
After securing work as a phlebotomist in Los Angeles, your certificate must be renewed every two years. To be eligible for renewal, you must have completed six hours of continuing medical education over the two licensure years. Your employer can help point you in the direction of these courses; in fact, if you work at a hospital, many host continuing medical education courses directly on site.
If you're looking for a career in the medical field with solid job security and minimal training requirements, phlebotomy is a good choice, provided you are not bothered by the sight of blood. In addition, for those who want to further their education in the medical field, it may make sense to attain phlebotomy certification and work at a hospital while furthering your education.
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