Phlebotomists are allied health care professionals who draw blood from patients, ensure proper labeling for processing, enter patient information into databases and assemble and maintain medical instruments for the process, such as blood vials and needles.
The Work Environment of Phlebotomists
Phlebotomists work mainly in both private and state hospitals, blood donor centers, physician offices and medical and diagnostic laboratories. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 40 percent of phlebotomists work in hospitals, 26 percent work in medical and diagnostic laboratories, 18 percent are employed in ambulatory health care services and 9 percent work in physician offices. Most phlebotomists are employed full time. Those who work in labs and hospitals are often expected to work on holidays, weekends and nights.
Job Outlook and Salary Insights for Phlebotomists
The future job outlook for these allied health care professionals is good. The BLS project a strong growth rate and demand of 27 percent throughout 2022. This growth rate is way above average when compared to other occupations. Blood analysis is still an essential function in hospitals and medical laboratories. The demand will remain high also in doctors’ offices as blood work will be required for analysis and diagnosis. As of May 2012, the median annual wage for phlebotomists was $30,000. The top 10 percentile earned more than $40,000, and the lower 10 percentile earned $21,000.
Education and Certification for Phlebotomists
Many phlebotomists attain entry-level positions with a postsecondary non-degree certificate from a technical school, vocational school or community college. These educational programs typically take less than one year to complete and include instruction in medical terminology, anatomy and physiology and labs for hands-on experience. Most employers prefer to hire those who have attained certification from the American Medical Technologists, American Society for Clinical Pathology or the National Center for Competency Testing.
Phlebotomists usually work in hospitals, laboratories and other medical environments to draw blood for tests, donations or transfusions. They must have exceptional patient care skills because an essential part of the job is calming the nervousness of patients and donors. Phlebotomists must be well organized because they’re responsible for labeling blood samples, assembling instruments such as needles and vials, and registering patient information into databases. The latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2012 has official government salary information on phlebotomists.
As of May 2012, the median pay for phlebotomists was $29,730 a year and $14.29 per hour. By comparison, the median pay for the average worker in the United States was $34,750. Median pay means half of phlebotomists earned more than $29,730 a year and half made less money.
Top and Bottom 10 Percent
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the bottom ten percent of phlebotomists earned less than $21,340 a year as of May 2012. The top 10 percent made more than $42,600.
Other Factors Affecting Pay
Some phlebotomists work holidays, nights and weekends. This can lead to increased pay for them. These who work full time may also get benefits such as health insurance that don’t come in the form of direct salary compensation. Phlebotomists usually go through a non-degree program, and professional certification greatly helps their chances of finding jobs and gaining higher pay.
The outlook for phlebotomists is great. As of 2012, about 101,000 people in the United States worked in the field, but the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that in 2022, the number will be 128,400. This translates to 27 percent job growth through 2022 and exceeds average growth for all jobs. Analyzing blood remains a key occupation of laboratories and hospitals, but as more patients gain access to medical care and insurance, the bureau concedes it is possible that hospitals and other entities may replace some phlebotomists with more-skilled workers.