How to Become a Phlebotomist in North Carolina
As the laboratory professionals with the most patient contact, phlebotomists are on the front line of diagnostic testing. Although a phlebotomist will spend much of the day performing venipunctures to collect blood samples, there is a lot more to the job than drawing blood. A phlebotomist will also need to instruct patients on how to collect urine, stool and sputum samples and receive and label specimens collected by patients. The phlebotomist is also responsible for ensuring specimen integrity is maintained and will need to be knowledgeable about the proper collection procedures for various types of tests.
It will be essential for a phlebotomist to have compassionate communication skills. Patients who present for blood tests are often anxious about their medical problems, the test results and the blood draw itself. It is not uncommon for patients to lose consciousness during a blood draw procedure, and a phlebotomist will need to know how to respond appropriately and when to call for help. Excellent hand-eye coordination and manual dexterity are other essential skills, as drawing blood can be challenging, especially on patients who are severely ill.
Working as a phlebotomist can mean long hours of physical exertion. Those who work in a hospital will need to carry or push a cart of supplies from ward to ward, as they collect blood samples, often veering off-course for stat blood work. It is very common for phlebotomists to work early morning shifts, off-hours and weekends.
North Carolina Licensure for Phlebotomists
North Carolina does not have a licensing board for phlebotomists, but laboratories and collection centers will have to meet strict guidelines. This includes supervision by a licensed physician. In the case of a fully qualified laboratory, a board-certified pathologist will generally provide oversight.
North Carolina Training Programs
Phlebotomists can acquire training either on the job or through a certified training program. In either option, a high school diploma is a prerequisite to beginning training. Possibilities for training in North Carolina include:
- Guilford Technical Community College offers a phlebotomy training program. Students will learn the proper techniques for various collection methods, how to correctly identify a patient, and how to accession and label a specimen.
- Gaston College offers a Phlebotomy Certificate. Graduates will be prepared to work in doctor’s offices, hospitals and collection centers.
- Wake Technical Community College offers a Phlebotomy Certificate. The 16-week program will provide intense training in phlebotomy theory and practice.
- Nash Community College offers a Phlebotomy Certificate. Course work includes specimen collection and handling as well as communication skills.
As the leading accreditation agency for laboratory professionals, the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) is where many phlebotomists seek certification. Acquiring certification, while not necessary, is worth considering for those who want to increase their employability. Receiving certification through the ASCP will require the ability to take and pass an examination.
Growth and Salary Information for Phlebotomists in North Carolina
The outlook is good for phlebotomists in North Carolina, with the field expected to grow by a whopping 24.3 percent between 2018 and 2028.
Salaries are also reasonable in the state, although they come in slightly below the national average for this field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the 2019 average annual salary for the profession in North Carolina was $33,300.
A Phlebotomy Career in North Carolina
According to the BLS, the Piedmont region of North Carolina is one of the top nonmetropolitan areas nationwide for jobs in the field. However, employment for phlebotomists is widespread, with the skill in demand wherever healthcare facilities exist.
In North Carolina, possible employers include LabCorp, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, UNC Healthcare and Novant Health.