How to Become a Phlebotomist in Alabama
If you would like to work in a career in the healthcare field but don’t want to spend a lot of time and money training, and blood does not make you squeamish, then you might want to consider working as a phlebotomist. Phlebotomists are responsible for prepping patients for blood draws, drawing blood for medical testing, donations and transfusions, and preparing the blood to be tested. They may draw blood through venipuncture, heel or finger pricks. Phlebotomists often work in hospitals, medical clinics and diagnostic laboratories. This career is quickly growing in the United States, and while training is required, a degree or certification is not.
Requirements for Becoming a Phlebotomist in Alabama
There are no statewide licensure or certification requirements in Alabama to work as a phlebotomist. Employers set educational and certification guidelines. In most cases, employers will require that phlebotomists have a high school diploma or its equivalent. A degree is not required, but some training and experience are usually preferred, so completing a post-secondary phlebotomy program would be wise. And finally, the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) does not require that phlebotomists in the state hold certification, but it is strongly encouraged. You may be able to find a job without completing a formal educational program and receive training on the job. However, you may be more likely to get hired if you already have some education and training in phlebotomy.
Educational Programs in Alabama
There are several post-secondary phlebotomy programs in Alabama. These programs range from nine weeks to three months in length and are offered at community colleges throughout the state. Here are a couple of the available programs:
- Jefferson State Community College. All four of the Jefferson State campuses offer the phlebotomy training program. This program has both classroom lectures and clinical practice. Classes meet two days a week for 12 weeks, and clinicals are the last three weeks of the program. Upon completion of the program, students will receive a certificate and will be able to take the NHA test for certification in phlebotomy. This is a limited enrollment program. Students must complete registration, pay tuition and make at least a grade of 70 on the Accuplacer Exam in addition to having a high school diploma or GED to be eligible for the program. They must also have proof of insurance and updated immunizations to complete the clinical part of the program.
- Calhoun Community College. This program is offered at the Huntsville campus and provides a combination of classes and hands-on training in a clinical setting. The program lasts for nine weeks, and only 12 students are admitted to each class. To register, you must be a high school graduate or have a GED and register and pay tuition in full online. Once accepted, students must attend an enrollment session. They may also opt into including a one- to two-week clinical rotation at a local hospital or clinic. This will require the payment of an additional fee. After completing the program, students will be eligible to take the American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians (ASPT) National Certification exam and receive national certification.
National Phlebotomist Certification
Some employers may prefer to hire certified phlebotomists, although it is not required. You might need to work for a little while to receive clinical experience before taking the certification exam, especially if you didn’t log any or many clinical hours if you completed an academic program.
Certification exams are offered through:
- The National Center for Competency Testing
- National Health Career Association
- The American Society for Clinical Pathology
- The National Phlebotomy Association
The requirements for taking the exam will vary by organization. The NHA certification requires students to have a high school diploma or GED and to have completed a training program in which they have drawn blood from live individuals within the five years before taking the exam. The NCCT exam has an option for current students, graduates and experienced phlebotomists.
Career Outlook and Salary Expectations in Alabama
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), phlebotomy careers are experiencing a 23 percent growth rate nationally. In the state of Alabama, jobs are increasing at a rate of about seven percent, which is much lower than the national average but an increase in employment nonetheless.
Nationally, phlebotomists make an average of $17.54 hourly or $36,480 annually. By comparison, phlebotomists in Alabama make approximately $14.97 hourly and $31,140 annually.
Working as a Phlebotomist in Alabama
Phlebotomists can be found working in several healthcare settings. Most commonly, you can find them working in hospitals, clinics or laboratories. In Alabama, you may have the most luck finding work in some of the larger cities such as Birmingham, Mobile, Montgomery and Huntsville. However, if there are healthcare institutions in the area, work as a phlebotomist will likely be available.