How To Become a Phlebotomist in Puerto Rico
Before the advent of contemporary medicine, healers used many methods to diagnose and treat disease, including visual observations, taking a patient’s history and even smell. While many of these methods are still in use today, physicians also benefit from modern diagnostic techniques and procedures. Many of these techniques involve a patient’s blood, and that’s why phlebotomy—the practice of drawing blood and preparing blood specimens—is such an in-demand role in the healthcare industry. As a phlebotomist you’ll be taking blood from patients of all ages and all levels of health, while maintaining safety, hygiene and confidentiality.
Requirements for Becoming a Phlebotomist in Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico’s Department of Health does not certify phlebotomists, but most employers will require that applicants have undertaken classroom and practical training as part of a phlebotomy course. Phlebotomy courses require that applicants be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma or general equivalency and pass a health check. Many courses prepare students to take a certifying exam with a US-based certification agency—this will confer an advantage when applying for work.
Training Courses and Educational Programs in Puerto Rico
Available in various locations in Puerto Rico, phlebotomy courses offer lectures and clinical experience, training students to perform various types of blood draws and to adhere to rigorous standards of cleanliness, safety and infection control. Here are a few examples:
- San Juan College phlebotomy technician program rigorously prepares learners to draw blood and precisely prepare specimens for a variety of types of analysis by diagnosticians. They offer the option of sitting for a national certifying exam.
- Training Center Technologies, also based in San Juan, offers two-day short courses in phlebotomy and intravenous medication administration. These evening classes are offered on a monthly basis and students can enroll via their website.
- Ana G Mendez University offers 18-hour phlebotomy courses at its San Juan and Carolina campuses. These are offered multiple times a year, and prospective applicants are encouraged to contact the university via its website to express interest.
Certification to Become a Phlebotomist in Puerto Rico
While Puerto Rico does not license phlebotomists, employers will be looking for applicants who can demonstrate their successful completion of a training course and who have passed an exam administered by a US-based accrediting body. Some of the popular organizations include the American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians, the National Healthcareer Association, the National Center for Competency Testing and the National Phlebotomy Association.
Certification allows phlebotomists to carry the initials CPT, for certified phlebotomy technician, after their names. CPTs are also encouraged to undertake continuing education every two years.
Career Outlook and Salary Expectations
In Puerto Rico, job outlook for phlebotomists is strong, with growth projected at 29 percent by 2028, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. As a colonized territory of the US, Puerto Rico contends with economy-affecting austerity measures, which tend to depress wages. An entry- level phlebotomist might earn a bit over $8 per hour, with an experienced phlebotomist earning a median hourly wage of a bit over $13 per hour. The median annual income is $21,740.
Working as a Phlebotomist in Puerto Rico
Phlebotomists can find work in a variety of settings, from doctors’ offices to testing laboratories. Blood and plasma donation clinics, nursing homes and correctional facilities often are looking to hire phlebotomists. As healthcare is projected to grow even in periods of economic decline, phlebotomists and other healthcare workers can achieve job security and can enjoy choice and flexibility when seeking employment.