Whether you are employed and wanting to make the transition to phlebotomy, or you are starting from scratch, knowing how long it takes to become a phlebotomist is an important factor when determining if this career is right for you.
- Most phlebotomy programs last 2-4 months, however there is large amount of variation depending on the school and program you choose
- Getting certified as a phlebotomist is an additional step that most phlebotomists take. This can add an additional 1 month to the process
- There are different levels of phlebotomy training offered, and many phlebotomists include other specializations or certifications to their education such as ECG
- The amount of time necessary to become a phlebotomist ultimately depends on your own goals and interests
Types of Phlebotomy Program
There are multiple types of phlebotomy programs, ranging from phlebotomy basic classes to Associate’s Degrees.
Basic Phlebotomy Classes
Basic phlebotomy classes range from a few days to a few weeks depending on the program. These classes will teach you fundamental knowledge and skills necessary for performing basic venipuncture procedures.
These are ideal for individuals who need to only need to perform specific phlebotomy tasks and may not want phlebotomy to be their ultimate career. For example, to work at a blood drive, phlebotomists only need to master a specific type of venipuncture and do not need to learn more advanced techniques, blood storage procedures, testing and other aspects of phlebotomy.
Total Time: 1 – 4 weeks
Certificate programs usually require around 100 – 300 hours of classroom instruction, as well as a supervised clinical experience in a hospital or clinic setting that make up around 40 hours. These hours can be completed in a full-time schedule in as little as 4 months. Many universities offering these programs provide them over 1-2 semesters and may require prerequisites for taking the class.
After completion of the program, students are eligible for certification from any one of the national certifying organizations. A certification demonstrates to potential employers that you have the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed as a phlebotomist. There are many different types of phlebotomy certifications, but these program types will usually steer students towards ones that require clinical hours as they are more strongly revered in the eyes of employers.
Total Time: 1 – 6 months
For individuals who wish to pursue more advanced roles in laboratories, such as laboratory supervisors or management positions, an Associate’s degree is often required. An Associate’s Degree program typically takes 1 – 2 years of full-time study and may cover topics such as laboratory information systems, clinical hematology, and histotechnology.
These programs often often multiple certifications and clinical hours, as well as a general education component such as math and science. The student must also pass an exam at the end of their program to earn their Associate’s degree, which is typically required for any management positions in laboratory settings.
Total Time: 1 – 2 years
92% of employers want their Phlebotomists to be certified or they encourage certification for current phlebotomists. For that reason, you should factor the time necessary for
Certification can only be obtained after completing an approved phlebotomy program and can take an additional month or so depending on the certifying organization, proof of education, and other factors. Regardless of the certification type, a written exam is always required and may also require undergoing a skills demonstration to demonstrate competency.
While these tests vary in structure, most are made up of around 100 multiple choice questions and have passing rates of around 70%. Taking the time to prepare for the exam and take practice tests is key to success as not all exams allow multiple retakes before requiring students to re-complete phlebotomy classes.
Total Time: 1 month
Time is dependent on your goals
Before researching specific phlebotomy programs, we would recommend that you determine the type of phlebotomist position you want to pursue and the level of phlebotomy education you need to achieve your career goals.
For example, if you are looking to quickly obtain certification and only need the basics of phlebotomy, then a certificate program may be ideal for you. However, if you wish to pursue more advanced roles such as management positions in laboratories, then an Associate’s degree may be necessary.
Once you have determined the education that is necessary for your goals, you can then research and find programs that meet your specific needs. This will allow you to determine a realistic timeline for when you can expect to complete your phlebotomy program and be on your way to a successful career in the field.