One of the nation’s most prestigious newspapers recently recognized the importance of phlebotomy. The Washington Post reported that one school in our nation’s capital has phlebotomy students train on live humans rather than practice with oranges.

With the title “They’re So Vein: Tapping a Job Market,” The Washington Post did a feature on career opportunities in phlebotomy and the training provided at Sanz College , in Washington, DC. In the July 14 story, the reporter pointedly noted that many phlebotomy training classes have students practice with oranges-but that’s not the case at Sanz College, which requires each student to perform 42 successful venipunctures on humans before they successfully complete their phlebotomy training course. Each member of the class of 13 adults paid $1,900 for 92 hours of instruction in 12 weeks. In that time, the students are expected to complete the 42 venipunctures, mostly on each other.

Sanz College has only offered the phlebotomy training program since December. It recognized the strong demand for phlebotomists. In the article, Ron Sandler, a Corporate Director at Sanz, said, “We identified a market need for phlebotomists in the greater metropolitan area. As our population in the country as a whole [gets] grayer and older, there’s need for more and more [laboratory] testing as people get ill and need to get diagnosed.” The school offers two-year degree programs in computer and information sciences, English language and literature, medical assisting, and medical office management. It has an enrollment of 525 students, 76% of whom are women.

According to The Washington Post, the individuals participating in the phlebotomy class this summer came from a variety of backgrounds. There was a 60-year-old math teacher who had moved to the D.C. area from India and a 34-year-old medical assistant who had relocated from Eritrea. Also attending were 52-year-old car salesman who left New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, a 32-year-old bank teller, and a 26-year-old college graduate. Each one wanted to learn a marketable skill in healthcare, an area where jobs are available and demand for phlebotomists will stay strong for years to come.

Demand for phlebotomy training is evidently strong in the Washington, DC area. The story noted that Northern Virginia Community College had already filled all of its 16 phlebotomy places for its fall semester training.

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They’re So Vein: Tapping A Job Market