How to Become a Phlebotomist in Montana
Working as a phlebotomist requires a great deal of skill and knowledge. Phlebotomists work in hospitals, doctor’s offices and collection centers, performing venipuncture for diagnostic testing as well as receiving other specimens such as urine, stool and sputum. As the gatekeeper of the laboratory, the phlebotomist will need to ensure all specimens collected adhere to specific guidelines and are properly labeled, processed and stored for testing.
Phlebotomists deal with the public almost all of the time and will need to be compassionate communicators with good de-escalation skills. Many patients who present to the laboratory for a blood draw or specimen collection are living through a stressful period in the their lives or will be anxious about the procedure. It will be up to the phlebotomist to help keep patients calm and relaxed while the process is carried out.
Phlebotomists need to be very knowledgeable about the testing the laboratory performs, as they will be responsible for ensuring that specimen integrity is met at all times. It will be important to know how to perform special collections as well understand which types of testing require fasting or timed draws. Phlebotomists are also often responsible for performing certain types of diagnostic tests such as EKGs, bleeding times and blood pressures.
Montana Licensing for Phlebotomists
There is no statewide oversight board for phlebotomists in Montana and licensure is not a requirement for practice. Phlebotomists will face significant supervision in the work place, however, as laboratories and medical practices are stringently regulated. In general, a phlebotomist will be under a structure of superiors with a licensed physician at the top.
Training for Montana Phlebotomists
It is possible to receive on-the-job training for the profession, but most phlebotomists today acquire training by taking a course in phlebotomy. A few of the possible options in Montana include:
- Bitterroot College in Hamilton offers a Certified Phlebotomy Technician course. Classroom and laboratory training is provided along with an optional externship.
- The Lifelong Learning Center (a division of Missoula County Public Schools), with various locations around Missoula, offers a phlebotomy training program. The course provides hands-on learning through mannequin draws and clinical collection.
- Montana State University in Bozeman offers a Phlebotomy Technician course.
- Miles Community College in Miles City offers a Phlebotomy Certificate.
Although not required to practice in the field, accreditation is an important way to highlight your skills and expertise as a phlebotomist. In today’s competitive job market, more and more employers are requiring job candidates to become certified prior to employment. There are many organizations through which phlebotomists seek accreditation. It will be important to research preferences by employers in the area in which you intend to work.
Salary and Career Growth Expectations in Montana
Salaries in Montana are below average for phlebotomists nationwide, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reporting average annual earnings of $31,710 in 2019. Data showed a salary range of $26,800 to $43,220, so entry-level phlebotomists should expect to start toward the lower end of the scale.
As a career, phlebotomy positions are growing everywhere, with a predicted 20.8 percent growth in Montana over the next 10 years.
Phlebotomy Opportunities in Montana
Phlebotomists often work early morning hours, night shifts, weekends and holidays. A great deal of physical stamina will be required in most workplaces, as the phlebotomist is often facing a long list of waiting patients. For those who work in an inpatient setting, there will often be stat blood draws and emergencies to respond to, along with the daily workload. In Montana, potential workplaces include Bozeman Deaconess Hospital, Quest Diagnostics, Northern Montana Hospital and Biolife Plasma Services.