Becoming a Phlebotomist in West Virginia
A phlebotomist is an important, valuable member of most healthcare settings. They work with patients to keep them safe and comfortable while drawing blood for laboratory tests or donations. To become a phlebotomist in West Virginia does not require a degree, so this is an exciting career you can enter in less than a year.
The current outlook for qualified phlebotomists in West Virginia is good. They are in demand and may work in hospitals, physician offices or medical laboratories. You can get a full-time healthcare job working with patients and a decent salary in less time than you may think.
Phlebotomist Requirements in West Virginia
You do not need to have any specific degree, training, education or licensing in West Virginia to work as a phlebotomist. However, this is a skilled job and no employer will hire you without any training at all. In some cases, a lab or hospital may hire you with no experience, with the understanding that you will be trained on the job.
It is more common and recommended to get into this career through a more formal path:
- Earn a high school diploma or GED
- Complete a post-secondary phlebotomy program, typically a diploma or certificate program that takes less than one year
- Get certified through a national organization by passing an exam
Phlebotomy Programs in West Virginia
The best way to become a phlebotomist is to begin with a post-secondary program. Options in West Virginia include:
- Pierpont Community and Technical College. This college that serves the central and northern parts of the state offers a Phlebotomy Advanced Skill Set certificate. It includes 13 credit hours of courses and a practical work experience where you have the opportunity to practice phlebotomy skills in a real healthcare setting.
- Blue Ridge Community and Technical College. Blue Ridge in Martinsburg offers a phlebotomy technician program with 80 hours of classroom work and 100 hours of externship work experience.
- West Virginia University. The Parkersburg campus of WVU offers students a one-semester program in phlebotomy. It includes 133 hours comprised of classroom learning and practical work experience. Graduates are prepared to take a national certification exam.
As a phlebotomist in West Virginia, you are not required to hold a certification. Some employers may require it or ask that you pursue certification as a condition of hiring. Most programs in phlebotomy will prepare you to pass the certification exams offered by these professional organizations:
- American Medical Technologists
- American Society for Clinical Pathology
- National Center for Competency Testing
- National Healthcareer Association
- National Phlebotomy Association
In addition to the exam, you may also need to have a certain number of classroom and work experience hours to get certified.
Career Outlook and Salary Expectations
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of jobs for phlebotomists is growing at a rate of 23 percent across the country, which is much faster than average growth for all jobs. Salaries nationwide for phlebotomists are $35,510 per year and $17.07 per hour.
West Virginia is also seeing strong growth in phlebotomy careers. From 2018 to 2028, Projections Central expects the number of jobs in the state to grow by more than 17 percent. Average salaries for phlebotomists in the state are a little lower than average for all states: $14.93 per hour and $31,050 per year. This reflects the lower-than-average cost of living in West Virginia, but there is potential to earn more with experience and depending on your employer.
Finding Work as a Phlebotomist in West Virginia
Most phlebotomists work in hospitals and medical labs, but they are also hired in all types of medical centers and offices. While there may be more jobs available in the high population centers of Charleston, Huntington and Morgantown, phlebotomists are needed everywhere healthcare is offered.
In West Virginia, a sample of recent job listings can give you a good idea of some of the opportunities available:phlebotomist/lab assistant, NOAH Associates, Charleston; mobile phlebotomist, American Red Cross, Morgantown; phlebotomist, Pleasant Valley Hospital, Ravenswood; and phlebotomist, Cabell Huntington Hospital, Huntington.