Develop one of the most valuable skill sets in the field of healthcare.
Canada's phlebotomy training schools provide excellent starting points for entering a vocational area that can allow you to feel proud to go to work. By learning the science and techniques of drawing blood from donors and medical patients, you can put yourself on the path to a career with all kinds of satisfying possibilities.
Why Phlebotomists Matter
It all comes down to saving lives, providing crucial answers, and improving people's well-being. Medical professionals trained in phlebotomy are often the first link in a chain that allows doctors to correctly diagnose and treat their patients' health conditions. Their work is what makes accurate laboratory testing and safe blood donation possible. Consider just a few relevant facts:
- Every step in the process of phlebotomy has an impact on the ability of medical laboratory professionals to get reliable test results. Without the hand of a skilled phlebotomist, a blood sample may be improperly collected, leading to false or misleading results, delays in diagnosis, incorrect treatment, or even unnecessary hospitalization for patients.
- Each day, about 2,000 units of blood are needed by hospitals and medical clinics in Canada.*
- As many as three lives can be saved by just one blood donation.**
- More than 80,000 Canadians may have a hereditary form of hemochromatosis, which means that their bodies have too much iron. One of the main treatments for people with this condition is therapeutic phlebotomy, a process very similar to blood donation.***
What Phlebotomy Involves
Inserting needles into the veins of patients (a process known as venipuncture)—for the purpose of collecting blood—is the main task for phlebotomists. However, there is so much more to their jobs than that. They are trained to follow very particular best practices, similar to those from the World Health Organization.
For starters, every patient must be correctly identified and matched up with all relevant personal documentation. And special safety procedures must be followed to prevent harm to patients and health workers. Then, in the case of drawing samples for lab testing, collection tubes must be used in a very precise order based on whatever tests are needed.
Once the blood samples have been drawn, a phlebotomist is usually responsible for accurately labeling each tube, filling out any necessary documents, safely disposing of all medical waste, and transporting the specimens to a medical lab.
How Much You Can Earn and How You Can Advance
The need for well-trained phlebotomists extends across Canada, especially as the number of blood tests increases in tandem with the rise in the country's population of seniors. As a result, pay tends to be good, especially as you gain a little experience. For example, the average pay for Canadian phlebotomists is about $18.20 per hour, which equals roughly $37,856 for full-time work.****
But here is something to keep in mind: Most of Canada's phlebotomists either become or begin their careers as medical laboratory assistants (MLA). Essentially, they perform some blood collection duties, but they also carry out some of the basic testing. The median hourly wage for Canadian MLAs is $24.77. With enough training and experience, some MLAs even move up into the advanced role of a medical laboratory technologist (MLT) and earn median pay of over $32.15 per hour.†
How Much Education You Need
Training to become a phlebotomist doesn't usually take very long. Sometimes it only takes a few months. But, as mentioned above, Canadians who want this type of career generally decide to enroll in a program for medical laboratory assisting, which tends to incorporate phlebotomy training. And such programs can often be completed in as little as six months or no more than about 14 months, depending on the vocational school you choose.
Find a Phlebotomy School to Get Started
Many of Canada's vocational schools offer phlebotomy training. And they are easy to find. Search for one right now by putting your postal code into this site's convenient school finder!
* Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science, website last visited on July 4, 2017.
** Canadian Blood Services, website last visited on April 10, 2017.
*** Canadian Hemochromatosis Society, website last visited on April 7, 2016.
**** PayScale, website last visited on September 21, 2017.
† Job Bank, Government of Canada, website last visited on February 28, 2018.