When word first went out that United Way Suncoast would offer a phlebotomy certification program at its North Greenwood Resource Center, it didn’t take long for community members to express an interest.
A lot of community members.
“Someone who regularly comes to the center said, ‘I’ve never heard your phone ring so much,’” senior community development manager Paula Kay said.
The chance to learn how to draw blood drew inquiries from more than 150 people and eventually 39 candidates embraced the opportunity and completed the two-week training, which was funded through a grant from TECO. A broad base of adults, ranging in age from 19 to 40, signed up and the cohort included a diverse mix of ethnicities.
The students completed online classes and a six-hour hands-on clinical skill training in person at the center. C.N.A. Technical Center administered the program, which has earned approval from the National Academy of Phlebotomy Technicians and meets the Florida Department of Education curriculum framework.
Kay said the training “required a time commitment. It required a focus.” And those who found the challenges daunting after signing up received a dose of encouragement.
“I think we gave some energy to people who initially may not have thought they could do it,” Kay said. “We worked with several people who were struggling a little bit and we really lifted them up and helped them see beyond themselves.”
The participants not only came away with a higher level of comfort for dealing with blood, needles, databases, test tubes and blood vials, but they also graduated with a state certificate. Of the 39, 31 will work towards an added national certification. The licensing helped several participants elevate from their current healthcare positions.
Overall, United Way Suncoast expects 80% of the graduates to be employed as phlebotomists. Employment of phlebotomists is projected to grow 17% from 2019 to 2029, roughly 22,800 new positions. Blood analysis remains an essential function in medical laboratories, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities.
In a post-program survey, the participants overwhelmingly said the training met their expectations and they would recommend it to a friend.
Check with your local resource center for upcoming job training/certification opportunities.