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Can a Felon Become a Phlebotomist?

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Felons often must look at a different career path, including returning to school for additional education. There are resources available even though felons may not believe they can find a job. Many employers have found that felons make good employees.

While serving their sentence some felons might consider a career in healthcare. They could explore a career as a phlebotomist.

This blog post will address the issue of whether or not a felon can become a phlebotomist.

  • What is a Phlebotomist?
  • What Education/Training Does a Phlebotomist Need?
  • How Much Does a Phlebotomist Earn?
  • An Opportunity for Felons?
  • Recommended Action


What Is a Phlebotomist?

A phlebotomist is a licensed professional that draws blood for a variety of reasons including medical laboratory testing and transfusions. A phlebotomist provides assistance if a patient has an adverse reaction after his or her blood is drawn.

A phlebotomist typically has a number of duties, including:

  • Drawing blood from patients
  • Explaining the procedure to patients
  • Reassuring patients as blood is drawn
  • Verifying a patient’s identity
  • Labeling the blood for processing
  • Entering patient records into a computer
  • Maintaining medical instruments
  • Delivering the blood sample to the laboratory

A phlebotomist works mainly in hospitals and diagnostic laboratories.

In order to be successful as a phlebotomist, someone must have a number of important skills, including:

  • Good communication skills
  • Empathy to put patients at ease
  • Ability to follow instructions
  • Ability to work under pressure
  • Compassion while drawing blood
  • Detail-oriented to draw the correct vials of blood
  • Dexterity skills to use equipment properly
  • Hand-eye coordination to draw blood from patients
  • Physical stamina to stand for long periods

What Education/Training Does a Pharmacist Need?

A phlebotomist typically completes education and certification from a phlebotomy program.

In order to enroll in a training program, someone must have a high school diploma or GED. Because of the frequent exposure to Hepatitis and HIV from dealing with blood, an applicant must have proof of current health insurance and pass a health exam.

Programs are offered at community colleges and technical schools. Each program usually lasts less than one year and leads to a certificate. Certification programs involve classroom coursework and laboratory work, and they include instruction in:

  • Anatomy
  • Pathophysiology
  • Human diseases
  • Phlebotomy
  • Medical terminology
  • CPR
  • Lab safety and procedures
  • Venipuncture
  • Hands-on experience
  • Labeling specimens

Candidates for certification typically need about 40 hours of classroom education as well as some clinical experience, typically about 100 hours. Certification testing usually includes a written exam and may include practical components, such as drawing blood. In most states certification is preferred.

States requiring certification are:

  • California
  • Louisiana
  • Nevada
  • Washington

Several organizations offer certification, including the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) and the National Phlebotomy Association.

How Much Does a Phlebotomist Earn?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics there are approximately 135,500 certified phlebotomists in the United States. The median annual pay for phlebotomists was $37,380 in 2021.

Experience will make a difference in how much a phlebotomist earns annually. The area of the country in which a phlebotomist works also makes a difference in their earnings. Those on the East or West coast typically earn more than a phlebotomist that works elsewhere.

The job outlook for phlebotomists is strong, with a growth of 10% expected between 2021 and 2031, which is well above average as doctors and other healthcare professionals frequently require bloodwork for diagnosis.

An Opportunity for Felons?

A felon can pursue any degree he or she wants. Approximately 60% of colleges consider criminal history in their admissions process, although there is no standard policy regarding a background check. Any felon that wants to get a degree in preparation for becoming a phlebotomist can find a college that will accept him or her. A felon may have difficulty getting accepted into many schools, but there are programs that will accept a felon.

The National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT) requires applicants to indicate felony convictions on the application form. They may also perform background checks on all applicants. Mandatory drug testing and a background check will take place at different times during the phlebotomy program.

It is important to be honest while filling out an application when applying for phlebotomy school or certification as a phlebotomist. If a felony isn’t disclosed but is found on a background check, this constitutes fraud and is punishable. It is a crime to falsify an application, which could result in being sent back to prison.

In order to be successful as a phlebotomist, it is essential for felons to be honest about their background. They are already viewed with negative perceptions of being dishonest, untrustworthy, and unwilling or unable to follow directions from authority figures.

Having their record expunged can give them the chance needed to begin with a clean record and succeed in becoming a phlebotomist. Expunging a criminal record allows anyone to honestly state on an application that he or she has not been convicted of a crime.

Recommended Action

It is a big challenge, but it might be worth it for a felon wanting to become a phlebotomist. Having his or her record expunged and also documenting any training programs or additional education could make the essential difference in a felon succeeding.

A felon could volunteer at a blood bank to build connections and gain experience prior to applying for phlebotomy school. A phlebotomist may also allow a felon to shadow them to gain experience.

Having support from family, friends, or previous employers can make a huge difference. A felon doesn’t have to be defined by his or her crime. We are not defined by our mistakes but by how we recover from them. He or she can begin again and live an honest life no matter how difficult it might seem.

What do you think about this blog post? Have you or someone you know been in the situation of trying to become a phlebotomist with a felony? What was that like for them, and how did they achieve success? Please tell us in the comments below.

3 thoughts on “Can a Felon Become a Phlebotomist?”

  1. I would love to have actual clarification because this is a path I would take. Seems like it may depend on the State, but maybe someone will answer.

  2. Hello, my name is Griselly Rosario. I have a felony. Last year I graduated from college as Patient Care Technician and phlebotomy. Unfortunately when it was the time to take the CNA certification they didn’t allowed me because of what happened to me years ago. How can a felone success in life when we don’t have a chance? It’s been hard, but I’m still standing and I know I will continue until I get a job as a phlebotomy. I earned my certificate with a score of 4.00 GPA,?


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