Phlebotomy is a kind of funny word and you may be wondering where it came from and what it means.
The word Phlebotomy means “bloodletting”. The word comes from the Old French “flebotomie” which meant the same thing. In turn, this comes from the Latin “phlebotomia” which is taken from the Greek word “phlebotomia.”
In short, the meaning of the word is to cut or puncture a vein – to gather blood specimens. These specimens are then tested – in some cases to determine the patient’s white blood cell count, to get a PSA level, to determine HDl and LDL levels (good and bad cholesterol), or these days, it could be for genetic testing.
Definition of a phlebotomist
A phlebotomist is a specialized health care professional who collects blood samples from patients. He or she may also collect samples of other bodily fluids such as urine, feces and sputum (saliva).
Training to be a phlebotomist includes how to find the best veins from which to draw blood, how to use syringes and needles, how much blood is required for the necessary testing, and how to label the tubes in which blood has been collected.
If you want to be a phlebotomist, you will need to go school from six weeks to two years – depending on the school you choose. The two-year course is usually found at community colleges. When you complete the two years at one of these schools, you will be not only be licensed as a phlebotomist, you will also have an Associates Degree.
Hospitals often train their own phlebotomists. In addition to community colleges, you can get phlebotomy training at vocational schools or at a school that specializes in phlebotomy training.
To become licensed
The requirements to be a licensed phlebotomist vary a lot from state to state. For example, in California, there are three types of licenses for phlebotomists, while in Colorado there is only one.
There are at least nine different associations that certify phlebotomists. You will want to find out which certification is most “popular” in your area so you can be sure you get licensed by that organization. This is because you would not want to work for six months or more to get licensed (certified) by the National Healthcare Association only to find out that the jobs in your area want people who have been certified by the American Society for Clinical Pathology.
To be a phlebotomist pays relatively well, especially when you consider that you might need to go to school for just half a year. In fact, the median income for phlebotomists here in the U.S, is $29,359, meaning that half of the phlebotomists actually earn more than this.