Frequently Asked Questions
What exactly is a Laboratory Phlebotomist?
The Laboratory Phlebotomist is an Allied Health professional who collects blood specimens for clinical laboratory analysis. In addition to the knowledge and technical skills required to collect blood from veins (venipuncture) and from capillaries (finger or heel sticks), the profession requires basic knowledge of laboratory departments, specimen processing and storage, asepsis, blood components, anticoagulants and their use, proper identification and handling of body fluid specimens. A compassionate and cheerful nature is needed for day-long contact with patients in hospitals and clinics. This training does not include blood collection center/donor phlebotomy training.
Where do Laboratory Phlebotomists work?
Phlebotomists are employed in hospitals, clinics, emergency medical centers, blood donation centers, home care agencies and by insurance companies. The skill of phlebotomy may be combined with other allied health skills such as determining blood pressure and performing Electrocardiography (EKG) to enhance employment opportunities. Employment on all shifts is possible, and employment is steady.
What are the essential characteristics and functions necessary to successfully complete the program objectives?
In order to meet the program competencies, a student must possess the following characteristics:
- SPEAKING/WRITING: Possess oral and written competency in the English language necessary to both understand and communicate with instructors, other health care workers, and patients. If ESL student, the TOEFL test must be taken and passed to establish fluency in English.
- HEARING: Must be able to hear verbal orders and hear sounds that indicate changing patient status i.e. breath sounds, blood pressure, apical pulse. Must be able to hear alarms on instruments and timers
- MENTAL ABILITY: Must be able to learn new procedures and understand directions. Must be able to understand and interpret orders accurately.
- ANALYZE: Must be able to interpret data used in formulating accurate patient assessments, evaluations, and self-evaluation. Make decisions to sufficiently deliver patient care. Must be able to interpret laboratory results and correlate with clinical significance and interpret quality assurance
- VISUAL: Must be able to observe changes in patient status and unsafe environmental conditions. Have visual acuity sufficient to use microscopes to perform analyses requiring distinguishing structural details and staining characteristics of cells and microorganisms, and have the ability to distinguish colors on procedural test strips and color charts.
- READING: Must be able to read and comprehend written course materials and documentation of patient care and office policies and procedures in the English language. ESL students must pass the TOEFL test in reading.
- CALCULATING: Must be able to utilize laboratory mathematics in calculations of formulas and reagent preparation
- SMELLING: Must be able to detect odors indicating unsafe conditions.
- MOBILITY: Must be able to move freely to observe patients, perform patient emergency care.
- DEXTERITY: Must be able to capably perform medical lab procedures. Capable of full manual dexterity of upper extremities, unrestricted movement of both lower extremities, neck, shoulders, back and hips to assist patients in phlebotomy procedures. Possess gross and fine manual dexterity sufficient to handle specimens or reagents, and perform analytical procedures requiring the use of small, delicate tools, equipment, and instruments.
- BENDING: Must be able to bend to touch the floor to remove environmental hazards or reagents
- LIFTING: Must be able to assist with moving and ambulating patients. Must be able to lift and/or support at least 75 pounds; to reposition, transfer, and ambulate patients safely.
- OBJECTIONABLE SPECIMENS: Must be able to handle/process specimens which may be of an objectionable nature and odor.
What is the typical salary for a phlebotomist in a hospital or clinic setting in the Cleveland area?
Hourly wages start at $12.00 - $17.00 per hour, and vary by the setting and locale
What is the demand?
Over 90% of program graduates seeking employment as a phlebotomist have been successful within 6 months or less. The demand is cyclical. Recent changes in the local job market have seen a shift from hospitals hiring phlebotomists for in-patient draw, replacing them with medical assistants.
Is the program approved?
The student may apply for a Short Term Certificate in Laboratory Phlebotomy by the college upon successful completion of the program requirements. Cuyahoga Community College’s Laboratory Phlebotomy Program is approved by the:
National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS)
5600 N River Rd, Suite 720
Rosemont, IL 60018
Phone: (773) 714-8880; Website: www.naacls.org
Are you required to be licensed or certified in order to work as a phlebotomist?
No licensure is required at this time in the State of Ohio. The healthcare industry in the greater Cleveland area generally requires that phlebotomists are certified, however. After successful completion of Tri-C's program, students are eligible to sit for national certification examinations such as that given by: American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP), American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians (ASPT), or American Medical Technologists (AMT).
What is the program pass rate on the ASCP Board of Certification Exam?
The 2013 annual results for all students taking the certification exam yielded a program pass rate of 87%. The national average for the same period was 85. The spring 2014 results thus far were 100% pass rate.
Where is the program held?
The program courses MLT 1300 and MLT 2970 are held at METRO campus only. The clinical practicum (MLT 1850) is always held Session B and takes place for 20 hours per week in the daytime at an area clinical site within a 50 mile radius of the METRO campus. Other non-program required courses may be completed at any Tri-C campus or via distance learning option, if available.
How often is the program held?
The program is held twice yearly. The program runs for the full spring semester during daytime hours (Session A is on Metro campus). The program is also offered as a distance learning option with evening labs (Metro campus, session A) during fall semester. The practicum sessions for both of these are Session B, and during daytime hours. Contact the program manager for program availability changes.
How long is the program?
The entire program is two semesters in length. The first semester consists of the prerequisite and other courses. The technical portion of the program is one semester consisting of 8 weeks of courses on campus or web and 8 weeks of hands on training (practicum) at an area hospital/clinic for four (4) days a week (Tuesday through Friday) five (5) hours a day for a total of 20 hours/week of daytime practicum training. It is possible to carry a reduced credit load if additional program courses along with the prerequisites are completed before entering the program. These courses include PHIL 2050 Bioethics, and IT 1010 Into to Microcomputer Applications. Once the applicant has officially started the technical semester of the program, he/she must complete all the required courses and the clinical practicum in the same (1) semester.
Is the program offered in the evenings or weekends? Can I work while attending the program?
The spring program is day-time only. The evening lab/web lecture section is offered in the fall. The clinical practicum occurs at an area clinical site is scheduled for a day shift during the second half of the semester. It is possible to work while attending the program only if you can make arrangements for a flexible time schedule at your place of employment, which will work around the program classes. Clinical site schedules may NOT be flexible. Practicum start times may be as early as 4 am at some sites. There are no weekend practicum sites.
How much does the program cost?
Including the minimum English and Math requirements, about 19 semester hours are needed to complete the program. At an approximate tuition cost of $104.54 per credit hour for Cuyahoga County residents ($131.77 for out of county Ohio), the tuition cost including laboratory fees is approximately $1986 ($2504 out of county). If you have completed some of the courses at Tri-C or by transfer from another college the cost will be less because there are fewer credit hours left to fulfill. If an applicant needs remedial courses to become eligible, the cost will be slightly higher depending on the number of extra courses needed. Textbooks vary in cost, but plan to spend an average of $75. One textbook is required at this time.
What are some other associated costs?
The following costs may also be incurred, and are subject to change (list may not be all inclusive):
- Background check by Tri-C authorized vendor, $100
- Drug screening, if indicated by clinical site, ~$30
- Professional Liability Insurance from Tri-C, $12.50/semester of practicum
- Physical examination, including vision test (variable)
- Immunizations/testing (including Hepatitis B series) (variable)
- Certification in CPR: American Heart Assoc. Basic Life Support for HC Providers ~$65
- Proof of medical insurance coverage or student health insurance (variable)~$200
- Uniforms (scrubs or uniforms) and leather shoes
- All stationary supplies (ream of paper for printing documents etc.)
- Parking/transportation fees to/from the practicum site, if applicable
- Lab: Lab fees, plus disposable lab coats and gloves, and safety glasses (bookstore)~$100
- Supplemental Fee's for each MLT course ~ $55
- Cost of TOEFL (IBT test), if ESL student ~$150
Is financial aid available?
Generally yes, however for current information, contact the Tri-C Financial Aid Department at (216) 987-4100 regarding grants and scholarships. Note that the program courses total only 7 hours, and 12 hours are required for full time status. Check www.ascp.org or www.ascls.org for professional scholarships.
Can I take the classes as Pass/No Pass (P/NP)?
No. Phlebotomy (LP) program requires a letter grade for all students who are eligible to elect a pass/no pass score. Credits that are awarded for letter grades are used in the computation of current or cumulative grade point averages needed to progress through these programs. Therefore, all LP curriculum courses, including general degree requirements must reflect a letter grade.
What if I am an ESL (English as a Second Language) student?
Certain pre-requisites must be met prior to program admission. The ability to communicate verbally and in written form is basic to the provision of health services in a safe and effective manner. Therefore, any student placed in English as a Second Language (ESL) courses through the college’s ESL Assessment procedure (at the college Assessment Center) will be required to take and pass the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with minimum scores of: Reading 21, Listening 22, Writing 23 and Speaking 24, as part of the program entrance criteria. Arrangements and costs incurred for the TOEFL will be the responsibility of the student. Once admitted, the TOEFL test can be required of any student if the instructional staff identifies English communication/comprehension difficulties, during the program.
What do I need in order to get into the program?
See “Entrance Criteria” below. It is recommended that you meet with a Tri-C academic counselor to review your credentials and the program requirements. The counselor will give you a program planner showing the requirements of the program and suggested sequence. If you are a licensed, registered nurse, physician assistant, or other practicing licensed/certified Allied Health professional, program pre-requisites and some auxiliary program courses may be waived (on a case specific basis) but you must apply to the program and submit your professional credentials with the application, and contact the program manager.
Is there any reason I may not be accepted into the program aside from not meeting the Entrance Criteria?
Yes. All students enrolled in health career programs that require students to complete clinical experiences outside the College must complete and pass a background check that includes finger printing and court search (BCI), and potentially a drug screen. To then enter a clinical site, the student must meet health and performance criteria as well, meet the background check criteria of the hosting institution and in some cases pay for and submit to a drug screen. For drug screen and background check information see: www.tri-c.edu/Healthcareers
What is the application deadline?
Applications are accepted throughout the year. Applicants are admitted to the LP Program on a first come first served basis after the following Entrance Criteria have been met. Once 24 applicants have been admitted, the program is full. It is recommended that you apply to the program when you are enrolled in the final courses necessary to meet the entrance requirements. The number of positions is determined by the participation of the clinical sites in hosting students. If there is a shortage of sites, students will be selected for sites based on GPA, and will be placed as soon as possible.