So you’re wondering how long does it take to become a phlebotomy technician. The good news is that this is one of the easier medical fields to get into as far as education and training go. That is not to say that the road to your career as a phlebotomy technician will be easy—your education and training will require some rigorous effort to be sure. But, in less than two years you can be working in the field, which is not something you can say about all healthcare jobs.
Becoming a phlebotomy technician requires certification, but before that you need to finish your classroom instruction and hands-on training. You will learn how to draw blood, operate equipment, handle samples, keep records and perform other important tasks that are integral to your role in the medical team. You must have a high school diploma or GED before you begin your schooling at a vocational school, technical school or community college. An associate’s degree at a community college will take just under two years, but technical and vocational schools offer certificate and diploma programs that can be completed in as little as six to eight months.
If you take a full time load of courses including anatomy, biology, physiology and laboratory classes, you should be able to finish school quickly. Associate’s degrees require at least 60 credit hours including some general education courses such as communication, English, humanities, math and science. This takes longer than the six-month certificate courses, which focus solely on learning the basic phlebotomy duties and preparing for the exams, but some employers prefer associate’s degrees.
After getting your degree or certificate you will need to pass a national certification exam in order to become a certified phlebotomist. The exam is administered by a number of organizations, including the American Society for Clinical Pathology, Association of Phlebotomy Technicians, National Phlebotomy Association and others. Once you have passed this exam and received your certification you can begin applying for jobs in clinics, doctor’s offices, hospitals, labs and other places where phlebotomist technician services are required.