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Health Network Laboratories opens new phlebotomy school to meet growing demand

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Students learn how to draw blood at Health Network Laboratories’ School of Phlebotomy. (Contributed).
Students learn how to draw blood at Health Network Laboratories’ School of Phlebotomy. (Contributed).

Health Network Laboratories has opened a School of Phlebotomy to meet a growing need for more health care professionals who are trained to draw blood and collect specimens for laboratory testing.

HNL’s inaugural class will start the eight-week program July 30 at its headquarters in Hanover Township, Lehigh County. Students will receive classroom instruction from laboratory and phlebotomy professionals and get hands-on training at HNL patient service centers.

Demand for phlebotomists is growing in the Greater Lehigh Valley and across the country. Employment for phlebotomists is projected to grow 25 percent between 2016 and 2026, much faster than the national average for other occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In 2017, the median annual wage for phlebotomists was $33,670, or $16.19 per hour.

“With an estimated 70 percent of all medical decisions based on lab results, we rely on phlebotomists to do their job with precision and compassion,” Dr. Peter E. Fisher, president and CEO of HNL, said in a statement.

“HNL’s School of Phlebotomy will help satisfy the need for phlebotomists, while training students to meet the highest standards in the profession.”

Karen Sciole, program director, said students in the School of Phlebotomy are guaranteed hands-on training, which gives them an advantage in the job market.

“The program is designed for students looking to begin a career in phlebotomy or who want to work in health care while continuing their education,” Sciole said.

“It’s also an exciting option for career-changers, especially those with retail and other customer service experience.”

The education and training the students receive in the program prepare them to take the American Society for Clinical Pathology Phlebotomy Technician Certification Exam.

Tuition is $2,000, which includes textbooks, classroom instruction, a clinical internship and a practice test for the certification exam.

Students will get training on patient management, collection standards and a computer system.

While students are not guaranteed jobs at HNL after they complete the program, they are at an advantage, said Katie Kackenmeister, a spokeswoman for HNL.

By operating its own school, HNL has better control of the standards to which phlebotomists are trained, giving it a better pool of potential job candidates.

The company sees candidates “that have experience in other places that are not necessarily trained to the standards that HNL maintains,” Kackenmeister said.

“We are putting more candidates in the system that are trained to the level we maintain,” she said.

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