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Phlebotomy

Welcome to the Phlebotomy Technician Program

This program prepares the graduate to work as a member of the health care team as a phlebotomy technician in a hospital setting, clinic, blood bank, blood testing laboratory, physician's office, research facility, or industrial laboratory.  Phlebotomists are primarily responsible for drawing blood and conducting other specimen collections.  Because blood analysis is a vital diagnostic tool used routinely in medical practice, phlebotomists must know how to collect, handle, and analyze specimens properly. They must be adept at recognizing conditions that may alter a collection, have a high regard for patient safety, and be capable of communicating with both the laboratory and the patient.

Program content includes the history of phlebotomy, clinical laboratory setting and personnel, law and ethical issues, infection control precaution and preventions, CPR/First Aid, circulatory system, anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, proper body mechanics, various blood drawing techniques, safety aspects of phlebotomy, complications of phlebotomy, handling of non-blood specimens and OSHA safety standards.  In addition to lecture, students will have a hands-on training in a lab environment and an opportunity to complete a practicum experience.

Phlebotomy assistants work in clean, well-lighted, climate-controlled environments.  However, specimens, solutions, reagents used in the laboratory sometimes produce fumes.  Phlebotomists need to have near vision acuity to assess quality control, and have manual dexterity and motor coordination to be able to draw blood. They must also be able to differentiate between different color schemes which requires normal vision. They may be required to stand or stoop for prolonged periods of time.

Hours and other working conditions of clinical laboratory technologist and technicians, such as phlebotomists, vary with the size and type of employment setting.  In large hospitals or in independent laboratories that operate continuously, personnel usually work the day, evening, or night shift and may work weekends and holidays.  Laboratory personnel in small facilities may work on rotating shifts, rather than on a regular shift.  In some facilities, laboratory personnel are on call several nights a week or on weekends, in case of emergency.

This position often serves as a stepping stone for further advancement in the field of healthcare. Phlebotomists who continue their education may have the opportunity to move up in the laboratory or into other healthcare positions. Because of this upward mobility within the field, there are frequent openings for new entry-level applicants.

Program Options

The estimated program length is based on full-time enrollment.  It is the student's responsibility to discuss sequencing and work out their individual schedule with a counselor or program advisor.  Any developmental coursework a student may be required to complete may increase the program length. The certificate is not intended for university transfer.

Certification/Licensure Options

Certificate: upon successful completion of the SVC Phlebotomy program, students will receive a Certificate of Proficiency.  Upon satisfactory completion of this program, the student is eligible to take a national board exam.  The fee for this exam is set by and paid to the national certifying agency of choice.  Washington State does not require national certification to be a phlebotomist.  Graduates of SVC's certificate program should have a hiring advantage over applicants with no training or formal education in this line of work.

Washington State Health Care Assistant Certification
Certification as a Health Care Assistant (HCA) with the Washington State Department of Health is required to legally perform blood draws.  The HCA application is submitted by the employer and is valid for three years.  If you change employers, then your new employer will need to submit an HCA re-application form.  See WA State HCA information below.

Certification:  Phlebotomy Technician, PBT /ASCP
Student must be a high school graduate (or equivalent) AND completed one year of full-time acceptable work experience as a phlebotomy technician in a CLIA regulated, accredited laboratory within the last five years.  This experience must include venipunctures and skin punctures.  Full time experience is considered thirty-five hours per week.

ASCP Logo
American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
www.ascp.org/boc

Washington State Law Regarding Phlebotomy

Effective September 1, 1988, Category A assistants shall meet all the following minimum requirements:

Educational and occupational qualifications to perform venous and capillary invasive procedures for blood withdrawal:

  • High school education or its equivalent;
  • The ability to read, write, and converse in the English language; and
  • Adequate physical ability, including sufficient manual dexterity to perform the requisite health care services.

Those wishing to read WAC 246-826-130 in its entirety may view at WA State DOH website: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/WAC/default.aspx?cite=246-826-130

Program Learning Outcomes:

Phlebotomist (Category A – Health Care Assistant) shall:

  1. Perform venous and capillary invasive procedures for blood withdrawal.
  2. Properly administer appropriate approved drugs per topical, rectal, otic, ophthalmic, and inhaled routes.
  3. Demonstrate the knowledge and skills for entry level competency as a Category "A" Health Care Assistant, per guidelines outline in WAC 246-826-130

In addition, graduates will be able to

  • Describe the phlebotomist's role in a medical lab setting.
  • Effectively use common medical terminology.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of infection control and safety procedures.
  • Explain the disease cycle of infectious pathogens. 
  • Select appropriate PPE (Personal Protection Equipment), demonstrate proper hand washing technique and safe removal of contaminated gloves with 100% accuracy.  
  • Explain the purpose and mission of OSHA/WSAH and Universal Precautions, define "CLIA 88" as it applies to phlebotomists, and explain Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS). 
  • Define quality control & explain the principle of quality assurance; follow established quality control protocols. 
  • Follow standard operating procedures to collect specimens.
  • Prepare blood and body fluid specimens for analysis according to standard operating procedures.
  • Prepare/reconstitute reagents, standards and controls according to standard operating procedures.
  • Perform and record vital sign measurements.
  • Use information systems necessary to accomplish job functions.
  • Perform blood draws in compliance with National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Science (NAACLS) requirements, CLSI standards (Clinical Laboratory Science Institute), with the knowledge to pass the ASCP (American Society of Clinical Pathologists) national exam, and with consideration of OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) mandates.
  • Communicate (verbally and non-verbally) effectively and appropriately in the workplace.
  • Use critical thinking and problem solving appropriately in the role of a phlebotomist technician.

Program Entry Requirements

Students must apply to the Admissions Office for an application to Skagit Valley College.  Make an appointment to take your COMPASS test.  Students must be 18 years of age.  It is strongly recommended that students possess a high school diploma or GED to enroll in the program. Students should be detail-oriented and analytical and have excellent organizational skills and a penchant for accuracy.

Immunization Requirements

Medical facilities require immunizations for all personnel who interface with patients. Immunizations must be completed before registering for certain courses or applying for a practicum experience.   The following are required for participation in the Phlebotomy program:

  • Negative TB test or chest X-ray (1 every 12 months)
  • Tdap vaccine (within last 10 years)
  • 2 MMR (measles/mumps/rubella) vaccination or positive titer 
  • Hepatitis B vaccination (series of 3 immunizations)

Students are required to have received at least the first 2 injections of the Hepatitis B vaccination series before enrolling in courses where there is exposure to bodily fluids or any invasive procedure that is part of the curriculum.

Additional immunizations may be required if recommended by instructor or

  • Flu Vaccine
  • Varicella

Background Check and Drug Screening

All students must pass a multi-state, multi-zip code criminal back ground check as well as a drug/illegal substance screening. This requirement is based on medical industry standards and Washington State laws protecting vulnerable populations (RCW 43.43.880 and 43.43.842).  Drug screens and background checks are required by clinical agencies where students complete their practicum experience. Students should be aware that certain gross misdemeanors and felonies may disqualify them from participating in practicums and unable to complete their certificate or degree program. Future employment opportunities in the health care field may also be affected. Students will complete the background check and drug screening process when enrolled in AHE 100. Students who are unable to pass these screenings will be removed from the program.

Practicum Experiences

The Phlebotomy program includes a required practicum experience.  Practicum's are at medical facilities which may involve travel to various regions of Skagit, Whatcom, Snohomish, and Island counties. All students accepted into the practicum experience must have reliable transportation. All experiences will be under the supervision of personnel at the medical facilities. Students will not be allowed to choose their clinical site. The department chair selects the facilities used for practicum sites and places qualified students. Each student is evaluated for Practicum readiness according to the Allied Health Handbook guidelines (Student Evaluation section). View AHE Practicum Requirements.

Career Opportunities and Job Search Information

The Occupational Information Network(O*NET) is the nation's primary source of occupational information.  The O*Net Online database is an interactive research tool for exploring and searching occupations.  The database, developed by the US Department of Labor, contains information on hundreds of standardized and occupation-specific descriptors, and provides a variety of FREE Career Exploration Tools.

O-Net Online: www.onetonline.org 
Soc 31-9097.00 Phlebotomist

For more detailed information about Washington State healthcare employment trends, wage rates, employment opportunities, job tasks, etc. search the websites listed below:

Placement Rate

Phlebotomy 77.8%