Online Phlebotomy Classes vs. Traditional Phlebotomy Classes: Which Is for You?

You may be thinking seriously about phlebotomy as a career choice — but you also may be constrained by the need to earn a living or take care of family members or other dependents. Can you still study such a demanding field despite these obstacles? The answer, surprisingly, is yes — through online phlebotomy classes.

It Is What It Is

Of course, studying anything online, especially health care, has its own set of limits. You need to remember that if you want to work as a phlebotomist in California or Louisiana, online phlebotomy classes are not   valid. In those locations, you’ll need to do your training the “old-fashioned” way, through either a technical school or a university program, and be both certified and licensed before you can practice.

Also, regardless of individual state or local requirements, some things simply have to be done in person: you need practice on manikins and, eventually, on live patients in order to be able to draw blood “for real.” Nor can you truly understand just what a “people” business phlebotomy is until you’re dealing with patients of all kinds, from very young children to the elderly, and from robustly healthy athletes to those seriously ill and under hospitalization. That’s why phlebotomy certification programs across-the-board require you to have a certain number of hours and/or number of venipunctures successfully done before you’re able to sit for an exam and be licensed and/or certified: there’s nothing like the “real thing.”

On the Other Hand…

But if the option is available to you, you can’t beat online phlebotomy classes for a maximum of flexibility and a minimum of hassle. For example, online videos can take you step-by-step through the process of finding a vein and inserting a needle — at your own pace. You can rewind a video and watch it as many times as you need to “imprint” the information. That’s not the case in a classroom!

And don’t forget — much of what you’ll need to know as a phlebotomist is academic in nature. For example, anatomy and physiology study materials are easily available online. Need to know the layout of a lab? Ditto. The same goes for basic medical terminology, safety procedures, and the “legal” side of the field. In some cases, such as learning about certification and licensing procedures, it’s actually easier to gather information online than it is to track it down “on foot.” You can finish a large portion of classwork, register for and schedule exams…all while taking care of whatever other demands your “real life” makes on you in the meantime.

A Matter of Taste

One caveat: online study, no matter the subject, isn’t for everyone.  It works best if you’re a self-starter who can learn quickly, research questions on your own, and keep yourself on track to meet class deadlines and assignment dates. If you need someone “nudging” you, online study may not be a good option, nor is it easy if you’re a “people person” who needs the presence of others around you to work most comfortably. Even with real-time chat rooms and interaction, many extroverts find online classes less enjoyable than being “live and in person.”

But if you’re an independent learner who doesn’t mind a little isolation — or someone who craves solitude in order to study most effectively — online phlebotomy classes could be just “what the doctor ordered” (no pun intended!). You can combine your online classwork with the requisite hand-on hours you need to do at a clinic, or under other technical supervision, and accomplish your goal at a cost far below what you might pay in a conventional university or technical/vocational school. It could be the best of both worlds — and open up a new world to you via an interesting, in-demand profession.

Do Your Homework…and Go for the Gold

The bottom line? In the end, online phlebotomy classes can be a surprisingly effective route to becoming a successful phlebotomist. If you take a diligent approach to your course of study, make sure you have all your region’s requirements met, and absorb all you can from both your online experiences and your hands-on mentors, no one will care in the end if some of your training was “in the ether.”  Your smiling, competent presence will be all the patients care about…and will make their day, just as your new skill enriches your life and the lives of those around you.

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