Becoming a Phlebotomist in Texas
If you are considering working as a phlebotomist, you probably would like to know more about what to expect from the career. Phlebotomists are primarily known for performing venipunctures to collect blood specimens for diagnostic testing. However, they are also responsible for collecting other types of specimens such as urine, sputum and stool.
Those in the field tend to work long shifts, which often begin early in the morning. It is also common in the industry to work off-shifts, weekends and holidays. The job requires a great deal of physical stamina, as phlebotomists will frequently have a long list of patients who will need to have blood collected.
Since phlebotomists are often the only laboratory professionals to meet with the public face-to-face, the job will require a great deal of compassion and excellent communication skills. It will not be uncommon to encounter patients who are stressed about their medical issues or have anxiety about the testing process. It will be up to the phlebotomist to de-escalate these difficult situations and keep the patient calm during the blood draw procedure.
Phlebotomists will also need to be well-versed in laboratory procedures and specimen integrity. Specimens for certain types of tests will need to meet specific criteria, and the phlebotomist will be responsible for ensuring the proper protocols are followed. It will also be necessary to undergo emergency response training and know when to call for help.
Licensing for Phlebotomists in Texas
Phlebotomists in Texas are not required to obtain a license before working in the field. They will need to be adequately trained to perform the job, either through on-the-job training or a certified training course. It should be noted that although unlicensed, phlebotomists always work under a licensed medical professional.
Texas Training Programs for Phlebotomists
There are several training programs for phlebotomists in Texas, and they are available in various locations throughout the state. A few possibilities include:
- PIMA Medical Institute offers a Phlebotomy Technician Program. The program takes three months to complete and promises to teach students to perform venipunctures and other blood collection methods as well as process specimens for testing.
- McLennan College offers an Occupational Skills Award in Phlebotomy. Students will learn to perform venipunctures, process specimens and input data into the hospital and laboratory information systems.
- Central Texas College offers a Certificate of Completion in Phlebotomy. The course takes a semester to complete and prepares students to become certified.
- Rio Grande Valley College offers a Phlebotomy Technician Program. The course takes 17 weeks to complete and promises to prepare students for employment in a variety of settings.
Although obtaining certification is not required, it is a highly recommended way to accelerate your career choices. There are many certifying organizations for phlebotomists, such as the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP). To obtain certification through the ASCP, you will need to take and pass an examination.
Salary and Growth Projections for Phlebotomists in Texas
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), phlebotomists in Texas made an average annual wage of $33,720 in 2019. Entry-level positions may be looking at salaries closer to $28,120, at the lower end of the scale.
Nationwide, the career is experiencing significant growth with jobs expected to increase by 23 percent over the next 10 years.
Working as a Phlebotomist in Texas
According to data from the BLS, the majority of phlebotomists are employed by hospitals, followed by clinical laboratories. In Texas, many organizations recruit for and hire phlebotomists. A small sampling of these includes USMD, CHRISTUS Health, Dallas County, Quest Diagnostics and Texas Children’s Hospital.