Whether you're looking to start your career or switch paths toward something new and fresh, job stability is always the main concern. And when it comes to job stability, nothing compares to working in the medical field. No matter where you live - in the heart of a thriving metropolis, in a quiet suburb on the outskirts of town, or off the beaten path somewhere in rural America, there will always be clinics, doctors' offices and hospitals nearby that need to be staffed. While there are plenty of opportunities for doctors and nurses, you may be surprised at the number of phlebotomy jobs available right in your area.
When most people think of working in the medical field, one of the first things that come to mind is the years of intense schooling that are required to become a doctor or registered nurse. But there are plenty of other careers in the medical field that offer flexibility, job security, and opportunities for advancement without requiring an advanced degree. In fact, most phlebotomy jobs require an associate's degree or less, with some entry positions that can be started with as little as a high school diploma and brief training course.
5 Highest Paying Phlebotomy Jobs
Phlebotomy is a branch of the medical field that is always in demand. Phlebotomists can be found in all kinds of medical facilities, including donation centers, hospitals, and clinics, and often travel to nursing facilities and private homes to collect samples. While a phlebotomist's earning potential isn't as high as that of a registered nurse, the ease of entry into the field and opportunities for advancement make working as a phlebotomist an attractive opportunity for those who desire to work directly with patients in the medical field.
What is a Phlebotomist?
Quite simply, a phlebotomist draws blood for use in medical analysis, donation, and transfusions. Chances are you've already encountered a phlebotomist at some point in your life. If you've ever donated blood or had to draw blood for a lab test at the hospital, a phlebotomist is a person who performs the blood draw. While a registered nurse is able to draw blood, most larger facilities and many smaller ones leave the collection to phlebotomy specialists who are trained specifically to draw blood.
Some phlebotomy jobs go beyond collection and entail analyzing samples for eligibility for donation or to prepare reports for lab tests to be given over to the doctor handling a patient's case. The further you go into the field of phlebotomy, the more training and schooling you will need.
Education & Certification
Depending on which of the many phlebotomy jobs you are thinking about pursuing, your education can range anywhere from less than a year to a two-year associate's degree.
All phlebotomists will receive training in the following areas:
All phlebotomy training programs also include a period of hands-on experience drawing blood and handling specimens. This will usually take up about the second half of your time in a given program.
Some states only require completion of a phlebotomy training program while most others require phlebotomists to become certified. Certification usually entails further schooling after the initial training program. When choosing a phlebotomy training program, it is important to consider your individual state's requirements and to consider whether you are planning to move to another area in the foreseeable future.
One last aspect of your education to consider is accreditation. Make sure when entering a program that the school you are attending is accredited. Unaccredited schools may have lower tuition, but most employers will not accept a certificate from a school that isn't accredited.
5 of The Highest Paying Positions
Pay for phlebotomy jobs varies widely depending on the area you work in, your experience, and the type of work you are doing. While it may be difficult to pin down just what type of salary, you can expect as a phlebotomist, most analyzes suggest that introductory pay for a phlebotomy specialist tends to be around the $15/hour range, which translates to around $31,000 per year at full-time employment. In contrast, a hematology technician with several years' experience in the phlebotomy field can expect to earn over $60,000 per year.
When you think of phlebotomy jobs, you're likely thinking of a phlebotomy specialist. The specialist is the person in the hospital or donation site who does the work of drawing blood. Completing your training as a phlebotomy specialist will lay the groundwork for other jobs in the field. Advancement from this point can require anywhere from 1 to 10 years of experience, depending on your area of the market, and what you want to do.
Medical Lab Technician
As a medical lab technician, you will not be focusing on drawing blood, but rather on analyzing the specimens that have been drawn by others in the field (likely a phlebotomy specialist). A career as a medical lab technician will require additional training, much of it has to do with the proper recording and documentation. You will also have to learn about different blood types and how they interact since you may work with blood that will be used for transfusions. Knowledge of the different kinds of machinery and lab equipment used in the storage, transportation, and analysis of blood samples, as well as samples of other bodily fluids, will also be part of your training.
If being stuck in one environment isn't appealing to you, working as a traveling phlebotomist may be the perfect opportunity. As a traveling phlebotomist, you will spend your days going to different sites that need someone to draw blood but don't have the volume of work that would require an on-site phlebotomy specialist. You may go to nursing homes, clinics, blood drives, or to individual patients' homes to draw blood. In these situations, you will usually be working under the direct supervision of the RN assigned to that site. This option offers great flexibility as you gain the experience required for advancement into other positions.
Donor Phlebotomy Specialist
If working directly with patients on a more personal level appeals to you, a career as a donor phlebotomy specialist could be right up your alley. Donor specialists work with potential donors at sites such as Red Cross donation centers to determine whether the potential donor is eligible to participate. You will go through the potential donor's medical history and background and draw an initial sample to analyze, in addition to assisting with the actual donation process.
One of the best aspects of this job is that the training and education required is minimal. A high school diploma and the completion of a phlebotomy training course are the only requirements for this position in most areas.
Becoming a hematology technologist is a step up from most other jobs in phlebotomy. The position requires an associate's degree and will usually require previous experience in one of the other phlebotomist positions. A hematology technologist not only draws blood but also uses computer software to analyze samples for any abnormalities or blood-borne diseases.
Once you've begun a job in phlebotomy, most likely as a phlebotomy specialist, donor phlebotomy specialist, or traveling phlebotomist, you're already on your way to career advancement. Experience in your field is your best asset when looking for a pay raise or a promotion to a more lucrative position. Many jobs in the medical field require experience in a professional medical setting, so don't rule out other technical careers once you've accumulated some experience as a phlebotomist.
If you decide to pursue further education in order to advance to a hematology specialist or another position related to the medical field, always ask your employer about tuition reimbursement opportunities. Many facilities, including hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes, will offer partial or even full tuition reimbursement if you are pursuing a degree related to the medical field.
Considering the wide range of phlebotomy jobs available, working as a phlebotomist is an excellent way to get into the medical field, either as a career unto itself or a stepping stone into a variety of other medical-related positions. Opportunities in the medical field continue to grow, and phlebotomy opportunities are no exception. We've all heard about the demand that the aging baby boomer generation is placing on every aspect of the medical field, but growing global populations and medical advances that continue to extend lifespans also help to ensure that these jobs will remain in demand, irrespective of other aspects of the economy.
Phlebotomy jobs offer competitive pay along with retirement and health benefits, opportunities for advancement both within the field or into other medical-related careers, and the opportunity to work in a wide variety of settings. If you're looking for a career in the medical field without having to spend years and thousands of dollars on an advanced degree, a job in phlebotomy may be the right job for you.