A Phlebotomy Career in North Dakota
Although well-known as the person who collects blood from patients for diagnostic testing, the responsibilities of a phlebotomist entail much more than drawing blood. Phlebotomists need to have a wealth of knowledge about laboratory testing, specimen integrity and collection methods in order to ensure the specimens sent to the laboratory are optimal for testing. For example, many tests need to be performed while fasting at certain times of the day or for a specified number of hours prior to a procedure. Phlebotomists will also need to deal with specimens other than blood, such as urine, stool and sputum, instructing patients on proper collection methods and ensuring the samples are correctly labeled upon receipt.
Excellent communication skills are essential for phlebotomists, who are often the only laboratory professionals to interact with patients. Many patients will present with severe anxiety about the blood draw procedure or the testing they are having done, and it will be up to the phlebotomist to help keep them calm and comfortable during the procedure. In addition, the phlebotomist will need to know how to respond to emergencies, as patients can sometimes lose consciousness during the procedure.
Working in the field requires a great deal of physical stamina, as phlebotomists often work long hours, performing procedures with very few breaks. Hospital phlebotomists, in particular, will commonly need to move from ward to ward, pushing a cart full of supplies, while responding to stat calls. Working early morning hours is very common, as is working off-shifts, weekends and holidays.
Licensing for Phlebotomy in North Dakota
North Dakota has no requirement for licensure for practicing phlebotomists. Phlebotomists will need to possess a high school diploma or equivalent and have completed the appropriate training. Once employed, a phlebotomist will always work under a licensed medical doctor, often a board-certified pathologist.
North Dakota Training for Phlebotomists
Although it is still possible to learn phlebotomy skills on the job, most phlebotomists today acquire their skills through a certified training program. Some possible programs in North Dakota include:
- Bismarck State College in Bismarck offers a phlebotomy training course. Students will gain proficiency in all areas of the field.
- Turtle Mountain Community College in Belcourt offers a Phlebotomy Technician program. The program relies on theory and practice to prepare students for work as phlebotomists.
Certification for Career Advancement
Attaining additional certifications is not required by the state of North Dakota. However, most employers prefer to hire those who have achieved accreditation. One popular organization through which phlebotomists seek credentialing is the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP). Their Phlebotomy Technician designation can be earned by taking and passing an examination at the current cost of $135.
Career and Salary Expectations in North Dakota
Phlebotomy jobs in North Dakota are expected to grow by 23.8 percent between 2018 and 2028, translating to an average of 60 new job openings per year.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 2019 annual wages in the state were only slightly below the national average, with a range of $28,450 to $46,910. Entry-level phlebotomists should expect salaries closer to the lower end of the scale, with opportunities to increase earnings as they become more experienced.
North Dakota Phlebotomy Opportunities
According to the BLS, phlebotomists are primarily employed by hospitals, laboratories, ambulatory surgical centers and doctor’s offices, with those in outpatient centers making the highest wages. A few potential employers in North Dakota include the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs, Trinity Health, Biolife Plasma Services and Lifesource Blood Services. Wherever you choose to work, a career as a phlebotomist promises to be exciting and fulfilling.