If you like to work with people, enjoy a challenge, work well under pressure, have communication skills and are interested in becoming a member of the health industry, a career as a phlebotomist/donor phlebotomist may be for you.
What Does a Phlebotomist/Donor Phlebotomist Do?
Phlebotomists are, in essence, the “face” of the laboratory. Laboratories depend on phlebotomists and donor phlebotomists to collect valuable blood samples from patients to be tested in the laboratory. The results of these blood tests assist physicians in diagnosing their patients.
What is the Difference Between a Phlebotomist and a Donor Phlebotomist Technician?
While a career as a phlebotomist is rewarding in itself, dedicated phlebotomy technicians may desire to enhance their employability by becoming a certified Donor Phlebotomy Technician.
The donor phlebotomist can seek employment at establishments that collect units of blood from donors. This donated blood is tested to ensure its safety and then stored until a patient is in need of it.
What is the Average Annual Salary for a Donor Phlebotomy Technician?
A phlebotomist earns approximately $20,000 to $36,000 annually, depending on certification status, place of employment and experience level.
A certified donor phlebotomy technician earns anywhere from $25,000 to $52,000, depending on place of employment and experience level.
I Want to Be a Donor Phlebotomist, How do I Become One?
There is not a specific program dedicated to the occupation of Donor Phlebotomy Technician. If you are interested in becoming a Donor Phlebotomy Technician, you will need to take a fully accredited Medical Assisting program. Once you graduate from this program, you will usually be qualified to pursue a career as a blood donor technician, medical assistant, EKG technician, billing clerk, phlebotomist, medical coder and receptionist.
How Long Does it Take to Obtain my Associate’s Degree in Medical Assisting/Donor Phlebotomy?
While each school will differ, you will probably need to obtain anywhere from 60 to 70 credits. Each course you successfully complete will be worth a particular number of credits.
How Much Does it Cost to Earn My Degree as a Medical Assistant/Donor Phlebotomist?
At the school outlined here, it costs approximately $15,000 a year. It will take about two years for you to earn your degree. So, the total cost for your degree should be somewhere around $30,000.
It is important to note that this amount does not include any financial aid or grants. So, if you obtain any kind of assistance, your cost will decrease.
Can I Apply for Financial Aid or Grants?
Yes, you can apply for both. However, your specific circumstances will determine whether you qualify to receive financial aid or any type of grant.
What does the Curriculum for the Medical Assisting Program Consist Of?
Again, not all schools are the same; the list of courses below is just an example of one school’s curriculum for the Medical Assisting/Donor Phlebotomist Technician program. The total credits necessary to complete this program are 70. The number of credits that each course is worth at the sample school is also listed.
Communications in Health (2 credits)
The goal of this course is to teach students how to use their communication skills to recognize the individual needs of patients and adapt their communication accordingly.
Students are introduced to a variety of methods to master the skill of effectively communicating verbally and in writing. The basic psychology as it relates to communication in the healthcare industry is also addressed. This includes the cultural perspectives, stress that leads to burnout, illness and life-threatening illness.
Introduction to Healthcare (1 Credit)
This course will provide you with an overview of the different kinds of practices, diverse medical specialties and various healthcare team members.
In this course you will also explore career opportunities, learn about the certification process and the professional organizations offering certification exams, the role of the managed care system is discussed.
You will be given a brief history on the evolution of medicine and the effects that culture and attitudes have had on the healthcare industry.
Ethical Concepts (1 Credit)
This course outlines the concepts and ethical terms related to ambulatory care. Topics studied in this class include bioethical and medical issues, artificial insemination and surrogacy, AMA Ethical Guidelines, AAMA Code of Ethics, abortion and fetal tissue research, distribution of scarce resources, genetic engineering, dying and death.
Legal Concepts (1 Credit)
You will be introduced to the legal terms and concepts as related to ambulatory healthcare. Topics discussed include confidentiality, risk management, medical records, physician’s public duties and documentation.
Office Emergencies (2 Credits)
This course will provide you with the knowledge you need to contend with numerous emergencies that could occur in a clinic or medical office.
You will learn about the related equipment and your role as part of the healthcare team. This type of course does not generally issue students a first aid card because it does not include CPR training. If you are interested in learning CPR, you may want to find out if the school you plan to attend offers a class dedicated to CPR training.
Patient History (1 Credit)
You will learn how to collect a patient’s history and other important information. You will also learn how to initiate a patient’s medical record and the various charting techniques that are utilized in the healthcare industry. Physical examination components are also presented.
Infection Control & Asepsis (1 Credit)
The information you receive in this course is vital to every healthcare worker. You will learn about the process and chain of infection, stages of infectious disease, immune and inflammatory responses, federal and state laws and regulations, standard precautions, sterilization of equipment and instruments, surgical, and medical asepsis.
Measurements & Vital Signs (1 Credit)
You will learn how to perform various tasks including how to take a patient’s temperature, blood pressure, pulse and respirations. You will also learn how to measure a patient’s height and weight.
You will most likely be practicing these measurements on one another in class. Normal and abnormal ranges, factors affecting vital signs, the physiology of vital signs and material related to these topics will also be discussed in this class.
Pharmacology (1 Credit)
The principles of pharmacology are presented in this class. These principles include history, sources, origin, properties, uses and the effects drugs have on living organisms.
You will learn the uses and the names of drugs, the legal classification and regulation of drugs. The Physician’s Desk Reference (PDR) will be used along with other reference sources. The various forms of drugs, routes of administration and drug actions will be discussed as well as the handling and storing of medications. This includes controlled substances.
Nutrition & Developmental Basics (1 Credit)
In this course, you will learn about nutrition and digestion. You will study various kinds of nutrients. You will learn how to read a food label and about therapeutic diets. The nutritional content necessary during various stages of life will be discussed. You will also learn about culture as it relates to diet and nutrition.
Lab Safety Introduction (1 Credit)
This course focuses on the safety, laws and regulations pertaining to the laboratory and physician’s office. You will also be introduced to the different departments of the laboratory, testing procedures and personnel.
The importance of quality control will be discussed as well as specimen collection, reports and lab requisitions. You also will be given instruction and use a microscope in this course.
Credentials & Employment (1 Credit)
This course is designed to prepare you to obtain the appropriate credentials through certification. Certification, registration and ways to prepare for a certification examination will be discussed.
You will also be taught how to develop a job search strategy. You will learn how to prepare a resume, cover letter and follow-up letter. How to complete an application for employment, tips on proper dress for an interview and you will even participate in a mock interview.
HIV/AIDS (1 Credit)
The curriculum topics for a 7-hour HIV/AIDS education program are included in this course. The topics covered include the transmission of HIV and infection control, HIV testing and counseling, the etiology and epidemiology of HIV, clinical manifestations and treatments, ethical, psychosocial and legal issues.
Psychology Principles (Basic) (1 Credit)
You will learn the basic psychology principles as well as theories that have been brought about by Erickson, Jung and others.
You will learn about the various influences on behavior which include culture, environment and heredity.
IV Therapy Principles (1 Credit)
This course is designed to familiarize you with the theory and process of intravenous (IV) therapy in ambulatory care. The fundamentals include supplies and equipment, related anatomy, calculation, site selection, complications, risks and ongoing maintenance.
Patient Scheduling (1 Credit)
In this course, you will learn how to perform various aspects of scheduling patients in an ambulatory care setting and basic triage skills.
Basics of the Front Office (1 Credit)
This course will provide you with information related to the responsibilities and functions of the front medical office.
The environment of the office will be covered and you will be given an overview of the medical applications used on the computer.
Telephone technique will be covered and triage will be addressed.
Medical Records & Correspondence (1 Credit)
This course is designed to address the scope of medical records and how to enter data in a new patient’s chart.
Confidentiality is addressed and you will learn about the various kinds of filing systems and reports used in medical records.
Incoming and outgoing correspondence is introduced; faxing, United States Post Service rates and computer applications will also be discussed.
Medical Insurance & Coding (Introduction) (2 Credits)
This course provides you with the history of medical insurance in the United States.
It also gives you the terminology needed to understand and then submit claims to insurance companies.
Numerous kinds of medical insurance will be discussed and compared. You will also learn about DRGs (diagnosis-related groups) and MCO (managed care organizations) models.
Daily Financial Management (1 Credit)
You will learn about the different aspects addressed in medical practices on a daily basis. This includes both computerized and manual banking, bookkeeping and functions.
Students will also learn about common tasks like handling accounts receivable, petty cash, purchasing and performing credit procedures.
There is a Series Of 12 AP/Pathology & Terminology Courses (13 Credits)
These courses will teach you about physiology, anatomy, tests, pathology and treatments as well as:
Course Number 1
Basic medical language and work structure; you will be given an overview of the body that includes its regions and cavities; directional terms and anatomical planes; the spinal divisions will also be discussed.
Course Numbers 2 through 12
The medical terminology, including pronunciation practice and spelling, related to the five senses and skin; the digestive system; the urinary tract and male reproductive system; the urinary tract and female reproductive system; the endocrine system; the musculoskeletal system; the cardiovascular system; the respiratory system; the blood and lymph systems; related to the nervous system; related to the specialty areas of psychiatry, pharmacology, radiation and cancer.
Medical Insurance Coding (1 Credit)
You will practice performing medical insurance coding projects. You will use the skills and knowledge you learned previously in the Medical Insurance and Coding course.
Medical Insurance Billing (2 Credits)
The goal of this course is to increase your coding skill and accuracy. You will practice billing medical insurances.
Pediatrics & OB/GYN (1 Credit)
You will learn the theory and practice of working with the typical OB/GYN. You will learn about prenatal visits, the postpartum and parturition periods of pregnancy, and complications during pregnancy. You will also learn about pediatric procedures and office visits.
The topics covered include measuring infants and children, collecting specimens, taking vital signs, common childhood disorders and how to screen for vision, and hearing loss.
Medical Office Management (1 Credit)
You will learn about teamwork, management styles, how to supervise students and personnel, time management, making travel arrangements, liability coverage and facility management.
You will learn how to create procedure manuals and marketing brochures. Human resources will also be addressed.
Topics discussed include recruiting and hiring, office policies, employee evaluation/salary review, orientation and training, dismissing employees, conflict resolution personnel records and the law.
Gerontology/Male Reproductive (1 Credit)
You will learn about various examinations and procedures used in diagnosing issues with the male reproductive system.
You will also learn about gerontology; including facts about aging, the biases of society, psychological and physiological changes that occur as we age.
Memory impaired and visually impaired patients are discussed in this course. Elder abuse is also addressed.
Rehabilitation (1 Credit)
This course will introduce you to body mechanic principles and how to use physical and mechanical agents to help patients.
You will learn the proper procedure for transferring patients, therapeutic exercises, modalities and how to use assistive devices to help patients.
Body System Exams (2 Credits)
You will have the opportunity to practice numerous procedures and examinations grouped by body systems. Some of the procedures you will practice include casting, sputum collection, cast removal, administering oxygen to a patient, irrigation of wounds, sirometry and visual acuity. You will also be introduced to pathology.
Imaging (1 Credit)
This class will introduce you to diagnostic imaging, putting an emphasis on radiology. You will learn about CT scans, MRIs, ultrasounds, nuclear medicine and radiation therapy.
Prioritizing Patients & Instruction (1 Credit)
Two major responsibilities are presented in this course, good patient instruction and the prioritizing of patients.
Minor Surgery (2 Credits)
You will learn about sterile principles, asepsis, common procedures and supplies. You will also learn about procedures to assist physicians during a minor surgery.
Calculating Medication & Administration (2 Credits)
You will learn practical procedures for calculating medication dosages. You will also learn how to administer various medications.
The theory portion of this class concentrates on ethical and legal factors and the six rights of drug administrations. You will practice administering medications orally, through injection, intradermally and more.
Phlebotomy (2 Credits)
At this sample school, this course is only open to students who are currently enrolled in their clinical, medical assistant or lab-assisting courses. This course is not an independent phlebotomy course, but is intended to teach you how to draw blood with a capillary puncture and venipuncture. You will learn about the equipment necessary to obtain a blood sample. Safety and selecting the proper site are also addressed.
EKG & Halter Monitor (1 Credit)
You will learn about the theory and practical procedures behind performing the standard electrocardiogram.
This course will teach you about the equipment used to perform an EKG, where to place the leads on the patient and about the cardiac cycle.
Hematology (1 Credit)
The tests covered in this course include red and white blood cell counts, erythrocyte indices, white cell differential, automated hematology and the erythrocyte sedimentation rate.
You will also learn about quality assurance, specimen preparation and testing.
Microbiology (1 Credit)
You will learn the basics of microbiology. The topics included in this course are cell structure and classification, safety procedures, necessary equipment, microscopic exam of bacteria and collection procedures.
You will be taught about the various culture media utilized in the microbiology department, biochemical tests, sensitivity testing, mycology and parasitology.
Urinalysis (1 Credit)
You will learn the importance of urinalysis as it pertains to the diagnosis and treatment of numerous diseases.
You will also learn the proper procedure for performing a urinalysis.
You will also learn how to examine urine chemically, physically and microscopically.
Quality control and safety are included in this course.
Chemistry & Specialty Lab Tests ( 1 Credit)
This course will teach you about the various equipment used throughout the laboratory. You will also learn how to perform tests that were not previously covered.
You will learn how to perform tests such as infectious mononucleosis, semen analysis, blood typing, pregnancy tests, blood glucose and more.
Interpersonal Communications (5 Credits)
You will learn effective interpersonal communication skills including various communication styles and ways to adapt your communication to meet business needs.
Externship for Medical Assisting/Donor Phlebotomy & Seminar (7 Credits)
You will use the skills learned in the Medical Assistant program to gain valuable experience working in a healthcare setting. To complete this course, you need to complete 198 hours of unpaid hours in a clinical setting.
Is Obtaining an Associate’s Degree for Medical Assisting the Only Route for Becoming a Donor Phlebotomist Technician?
No, by obtaining a phlebotomy degree and working as a phlebotomist in an establishment for several years that collects blood donations, you may be able to become certified as a Donor Phlebotomy Technician. To take this route you will need the assistance of your supervisor.
Here is an Example Of What to Expect During a Phlebotomy Donor Technician Externship
This externship is used to gain the necessary experience to qualify to sit for a Donor Phlebotomy certification exam. You will discuss and perform various phlebotomy procedures with supervision. You will perform these duties in selected clinics, hospitals, laboratories or physician offices.
To complete this externship you must:
Successfully perform at least:
- 25 capillary punctures;
- 50 donor collections; and
- 100 clinical hours in a CAP or joint commission accredited blood donor setting.
You must also:
- Follow the established safety precautions;
- Perform donor histories;
- Professionally interact with co-workers and patients;
- Document and then maintain accurate medical records;
- Assist with the set-up and breakdown of the blood mobile sites (as appropriate);
- Relate physiology, anatomy and the appropriate medical terms to phlebotomy procedures;
- Apply universal precautions along with professional liability and safety, and health requirements;
- Provide all the experiences required to sit for your national certification exam.
Once I Have Earned My Degree, Do I Have to Become Certified as a Donor Phlebotomist?
Yes, it is recommended that you become certified with one of the national certification organizations.
What is the Certification Used For?
By becoming certified, you demonstrate to your potential employer that you are considered competent and capable by the certification organization you choose to use.
What Agencies Certify Donor Phlebotomists?
The National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT) and the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) is a couple of the agencies that offer a certification exam for Donor Phlebotomy.
What is the ASCP?
The ASCP was founded in 1922. It is one of the most respected certifying organizations in the nation. The ASCP has 140,000 members who are medical laboratory professionals and pathologists.
What Will the ASCP DPT Certification Exam Cover?
The examination will cover numerous areas. Some of these areas include basic body systems structure and function, blood typing and compatibility, the composition of blood, blood collection procedures, donor center operations, blood handling and processing procedures.
How Much Does it Cost to Take the ASCP DPT Exam?
It costs $135 to take the ASCP’s DPT certification exam.
Does the ASCP Offer Any Study Materials for Their Exam?
Yes, on their website they offer a practice test. By taking this test, you should be able to determine which subject areas you need to spend more time studying.
What if I Do Not Pass the ASCP Certification Exam?
You will receive your ASCP test results by mail. If you do not pass your certification exam, you will receive the information you need about retaking the exam with your results.
What About the NCCT?
The NCCT is another certifying organization that you can use to become certified in Donor Phlebotomy. The NCCT is an independent certifying organization that is used for testing and certification purposes by 850 organizations and facilities across the nation.
What Will the NCCT Donor Phlebotomy (DP) Exam Cover?
Six standards are tested on the NCCT’s DP exam.
These standards include:
- An understanding of the regulations and requirements that govern donor phlebotomy;
- Understanding the role the Donor Phlebotomist plays in the Blood Donor Center;
- Demonstrating proper collection techniques;
- Exhibiting knowledge of blood and the components of blood;
- Understanding the principles of selecting donors; and
- An understanding of special procedures.
How Much Does it Cost to Take the NCCT DP Exam?
It costs $90 to take the NCCT exam.
Does the NCCT also Offer a Practice Test?
Yes, there is an online practice test available to assist you in determining which areas you need to spend more time on during your study sessions.
What if I Do Not Pass the NCCT Certification Exam?
If you do not pass your NCCT certification exam, you will be able to retake the test in 30 days.
Is There a Cost if I Have to Retest?
Yes, the same fee applies $90. You will only be allowed to test three times and you must pay the $90 each time.
Once I Become Certified, Will I Always Be Certified?
Not necessarily, that will depend on which certification organization you choose.
The ASCP requires that you obtain revalidation every three years to maintain your certification by completing 6 contact hours of continuing education. The ASCP also offers continuing education courses.
The NCCT requires that you take 14 hours of continuing education every year to stay current. The continuing education courses can be taken online.
Is There a Charge to Take the Continuing Education Courses with the NCCT & the ASCP?
The NCCT– Yes, each hour costs $6 per contact hour, for a total of $84 a year.
The ASCP– That depends, if you join their re.member program you receive unlimited online continuing education courses and your $75 CMP fee is waived. However, if you choose not to join this program it will cost you $75 every three years to revalidate your certification.
How Do I Decide With Which Organization to Become Certified?
While the ASCP is a widely recognized and respected organization, try to find out which organization is preferred by your potential employer.
How Will Patients Know That I Am Certified?
Depending on which certification organization you choose, you will be given a set of initials to use after your name to display your certification accomplishment. For example, if you become a certified DPT with the ASCP you will be permitted to use the initials DPT (ASCP) after your name.