If you’re considering a career as a phlebotomist, one of the first steps is to attend a phlebotomy program. But before you can enroll, there are a few prerequisites you’ll need to meet. Some programs have different requirements or do not require all of the items on this list, so be sure to check with your school and make sure you meet all their criteria.
High School Diploma or GED
Nearly all phlebotomy programs require applicants to have a high school diploma or GED and require that you have completed your secondary education before enrolling. You’ll typically need to provide proof of your diploma or GED before you can start the program in the form of a transcript or an official copy of your diploma. Some exceptions may be made for those who were born outside of the US, have an international diploma, or have previously completed college courses.
Government Issued ID and/or Social Security Card
Many programs also require applicants to have a valid government-issued ID or Social Security card. These forms of identification are necessary to ensure you are legally eligible to begin the program and practice as a phlebotomist.
Most phlebotomy programs require that applicants be at least 18 years old to enroll. This is not an issue for most applicants as they are not able to obtain their high school diploma or GED until they are 18, however some individuals graduate high school at age 17 or younger. You may be able to find phlebotomy classes near you that have no age requirement, or an age requirement of 17 years of age. If not, reach out to the school to see if they are able to make a special exception given your unique circumstances.
In most cases, you’ll be required to submit to a background check before enrolling in a phlebotomy program. This is done to ensure you meet the necessary qualifications for working as a phlebotomist and to minimize the chances of any unethical behavior. The background check is usually completed by the school, but you may need to submit fingerprints or other identifying information as well.
Most phlebotomy programs will require you to complete a drug test before being accepted into the program. This is done to protect the safety and security of both the students and patients involved with phlebotomy. Drug tests can be completed at many locations and will typically include a follicle sample or urine test.
Immunizations and Vaccinations
As a phlebotomy student, you’ll be working with patients who may have compromised immune systems. For this reason, many phlebotomy programs require that you have certain immunizations and vaccinations before you can enroll. Common immunizations and screenings may include tuberculosis, hepatitis B, MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella), tetanus, and influenza. You may not be required to provide proof of your immunizations before enrolling in the program, however most require up to date immunizations before starting clinical hours or an externship.
Some phlebotomy programs require that you complete a basic cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) course before enrolling in the program. This is to ensure you know how to respond in an emergency situation where the phlebotomist is the best-qualified person to perform CPR. The cost of the course is typically paid by the student, although some phlebotomy programs reimburse students for the cost. CPR classes can be found at most hospitals, community centers, and fire departments, or may be offered by the organization offering phlebotomy classes.
Phlebotomists need to have good manual dexterity and hand-eye coordination, as well as the ability to stand for long periods of time. Some phlebotomy programs may require that you meet certain physical requirements before enrolling. This is typically done by requiring students to undergo a medical exam or provide proof of physical fitness.
While meeting necessary prerequisites for attending a phlebotomy program may sound intimidating, it’s important to know that most programs have limited requirements for enrollment such as only having a high school diploma or GED. Before applying, reach out to the program or review their individual requirements to ensure you meet all the necessary qualifications.