A Phlebotomy Career in Virginia
As vital members of the laboratory team, phlebotomists are responsible for collecting blood and other specimens for diagnostic testing. Working as a phlebotomist will require in-depth knowledge of laboratory procedures, specimen integrity and basic healthcare practices. If this career sounds interesting to you, keep reading for more information about what to expect.
Working as a phlebotomist means long shifts, early morning hours, holidays and weekends. The job requires significant physical stamina, as there is often a long list of patients who will need to be seen. Inpatient phlebotomists will need to move about the hospital collecting blood, often while carrying a basket of supplies and a pager for stat blood draws.
Phlebotomists are also responsible for instructing patients on how to collect various specimens such as urine, stool and sputum. Once collected, the phlebotomist will receive, label and accession them. Excellent communication skills are a must, as patients will often be anxious about their tests and results. Clinic phlebotomists should expect to also perform selected diagnostic procedures like blood pressures, EKGs and temperature checks.
Licensing for Virginia Phlebotomists
Virginia has no requirement for phlebotomists to be licensed and no statewide oversight for the profession. However, it would be wrong to assume that the career is unregulated. Laboratories and physicians’ offices need to meet stringent guidelines in order to stay in practice. No matter where a phlebotomist works, they will be under the license and supervision of a physician at all times.
Training Programs for Phlebotomists in Virginia
Although on-the-job training is possible, modern phlebotomists generally learn their skills through attendance in a certified training course. A few choices for training in Virginia include:
- Centura College in Virginia Beach offers a Medical Assistant Diploma. The program takes 12 months of full-time attendance to complete. Aside from Virginia Beach, the training is also provided on the college’s Norfolk, Chesapeake and Newport News locations.
- Eastern Virginia Career College in Fredericksburg offers a medical assistant program. Along with phlebotomy, students will learn how to assist in procedures, keep charts up-to-date and perform front office duties.
- American National University offers an online Phlebotomy and EKG Diploma. The program will prepare students for entry-level positions as phlebotomists and EKG technicians.
Credentialing can be obtained through various sources and is recommended for those who are new to the field, as most employers will be seeking certified professionals to fill open positions. Acquiring accreditation is a mark of professionalism and an important step for your career. One organization through which you can receive a credential is the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP). Earning your credential through the ASCP will require you to take and pass an examination on the fundamentals of phlebotomy.
Salary and Growth Projections in Virginia
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for 2019 show that salaries for phlebotomists in the state are slightly above the national average, at $37,970 per year. However, the lower end of the scale, which may more accurately reflect entry-level salaries, lists wages around $31,970.
The state’s job growth outlook is similarly positive, with Projections Centra l predicting an increase of 34.9 percent between 2018 and 2028, translating to an average of 570 job openings for phlebotomists each year.
Phlebotomy Opportunities in Virginia
Phlebotomists will generally find job openings wherever there is a need for diagnostic testing, meaning hospitals, doctors’ offices and collection centers. In Virginia, organizations like Valley Health, LabCorp, Quest Diagnostics, Octapharma Plasma, Pride Health and Virginia Hospital Center recruit for and hire phlebotomists. Regardless of where you choose to begin your career, you can expect it to be an exciting and lasting experience.