phlebotomist drawing blood

Nathan Wagoner headshot



As a current college student studying biology, Nathan Wagoner is not waiting until after graduation to begin taking steps toward his long-term goals. Aspiring to become a dentist, Nathan decided to begin earning hands-on experience in the medical field by becoming a phlebotomy tech.  



Marah: What did you enjoy most about UTC’s Phlebotomy Tech course? 

Nathan: The course is very serious because you’re dealing with blood. There’s an overall theme of caution, safety, and professionalism. However, the instructor made sure that the course was also fun, and that the material was easy to comprehend. My cohort definitely had fun along the way.  


M: What were your interactions with the instructor like? 

N: Ms. Suzette is awesome. My favorite part of the course was having her as the instructor. There was never a period of time where people were uncomfortable or uneasy while in the course. I appreciated that she never shamed or got angry at people when they answered something incorrectly. Instead, she helped us find the right answers and led us in a friendly, welcoming way. She truly made all the difference! 


M: What was your study/life/work balance like while taking the course, especially as a full-time college student? 

N: The course was only three hours long, twice a week. If you’re a college student, you are typically free during the course time period (unless you have a weird class schedule or you choose to take night classes). We only met on Saturdays every couple of weeks or so. The balance isn’t difficult as long as you manage your time well!  


M: What advice would you give to someone interested in taking the phlebotomy tech course? 

N: You will probably find the course to be much more intimidating if you’re looking at the course from the outside in; all you’re seeing is the needles and blood. The class isn’t a cakewalk, but it is NOT as intimidating as it seems. You get used to sticking people after lots of practice! 

What you get out of the course is equivalent to what you put in. If you put in a half-hearted effort, you’ll only get half the results. Stay invested and you’ll be rewarded for your efforts. The class is fun, and I don’t think anyone should shy away from taking it if they are interested. 


M: Now that you’ve finished the course, what’s next for you?  

N: Short-term, I will begin working as a phlebotomy tech at the East Tennessee Children’s Hospital. Long-term, I hope to attend dental school and begin a career in dentistry, possibly with a specialty in pediatrics. 


M: Do you have anything else you’d like to share about the phlebotomy tech course? 

N: You may be nervous at first, but once you get lots of practice sticking the pigskin, sticking actual people will come more naturally. The class was smooth-sailing, and I enjoyed getting to know the people who participated with me. If you’re thinking about taking the course, do it! 


Marah Whitaker headshot

Marah Whitaker (think Laura with an M) serves as the marketing assistant for the UTC Center for Professional Education. During the workday, she spends time writing blog posts, creating content for social media, developing email campaigns, and building relationships with CPE’s customer base. During her free time, you can find her getting lost in a good book, having spontaneous dance parties, playing piano, and going to Buffalo Wild Wings on Wing Night. Professionally and personally, she aspires to live by Mr. Feeny’s advice, “Dream. Believe. Try. Do Good.” She strives to use her passions to serve others and contribute positively to the world around her.

Connect with Marah on LinkedIn.