Phlebotomist Salary Guide

phlebotomist

The Phlebotomist Salary Guide states that the average phlebotomist working in the United States is between $20,469 and $43,908 including a bonus of up to $2,750 and a profit share of $2,000. If the phlebotomist works for hourly wages, they earn $10.37 to $18.41 per hour with overtime increasing to $12.79 to $27.31. The phlebotomist salary averages out to $14.15 per hour for those with less than 20 years’ experience.  Higher pay is possible when combined with knowledge and experience in medical terminology.

The Benefits Of Becoming A Phlebotomist In Today's World

drawing blood

The phlebotomist salary depends on the knowledge and skill needed to draw blood from patients [primarily from veins] for laboratory research, transfusions, donations, and screenings. Phlebotomist perform venipunctures or finger sticks to collect blood and sometimes such as with babies; they perform a heel stick.  

Typical routine duties of the phlebotomist can include:

  • Accurate patient identification
  • Test interpretation
  • Discerning proper equipment and collection tube additives
  • Precise and accurate explanations of procedures to patients
  • Patient prep
  • Correctly practicing aseptic techniques
  • Practicing standard and universal precautions
  • Performing the skin/vein puncture
  • Withdrawing blood into containers or tubes
  • Apply restorative techniques to the puncture site
  • Communicating post-puncture care to patients
  • Carrying out a doctor's requisition orders
  • Labeling collection tubes with corresponding labels
  • Delivering collected specimens to a lab

Educated nurses, surgical technicians, medical assistants, and other medical personnel also perform phlebotomy.  It is not uncommon for a student in this field to proceed on to becoming an MD.  The phlebotomist salary is contingent upon education, training and experience-the basic steps to success.

Before drawing blood, they must verify the patient’s identity. This is critically important.  The phlebotomist must then organize the equipment they’ll be using in the scheduled procedure and continue with the proper hand washing techniques followed by putting on gloves.  

Gloves protect the phlebotomist against contracting diseases present in the patient’s blood.  Now you’re ready to draw blood.  Have the patient place their arm, palm up, on a flat surface so that the table supports the arm giving you good access to the patient’s vein.  Once the vein is ready, the phlebotomist applies a tourniquet above the elbow a few inches above the infusion site.  At this point ask your patient to make and hold a fist.

Employers base the phlebotomist salary on procedural efficiency and professional empathy.  Many people are nervous about blood and needles.  You’ll help to ease your patient’s anxiety by conducting yourself in a calm, reassuring manner.  Though the steps are small, they are very important to the health and well-being of the patient.  Now that your patient has a fist made, clean the site using an alcohol pad before you insert the needle.  At the first sign of blood, remove the tourniquet and have the patient relax by opening their fist.  When all the requested samples are complete, remove the needle and place gauze over the puncture site.  Immediately label and store the blood sample and discard all the contaminated materials used during the procedure including gauze, needles, and tubes.

As a practicing phlebotomist, your job also includes determining if your patient is anemic, has a cardiac condition, or is underweight for their age group. These factors may negatively affect the blood-drawing procedure or result in the patient fainting.  Drawing a patient’s blood is an essential component of any medical screening or procedure.  Diagnosis of the problem is the most valuable step in making sure they’re given the proper treatment.  Phlebotomy is an integral role in identifying abnormalities in the patient’s blood work leading to disease or future health problems. It’s the phlebotomist’s duty to deal with the patient in a sincere, attentive way; helping them feel secure and calm in order that the doctor can best do his or her job.

Factors That Affect Phlebotomist Salary

Phlebotomy Specialist

A phlebotomist can get national certification through different organizations.  

If you plan to work in the United States, there are 4 states that require phlebotomists to pass state certification:

  • California
  • Nevada
  • Washington
  • Louisiana

In the state of California, they only recognize and accept national certificates from the following agencies:

  • American Certification Agency (ACA)
  • American Medical Technologists (AMT)
  • American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
  • National Center for Competency Testing/Multi-skilled Medical Certification Institute (NCCT/MMCI)
  • National Credentialing Agency (NCA)
  • National Health career Association (NHA)
  • National Phlebotomy Certification Examination (NPCE)

Applicants must meet certain criteria to qualify to take an examination.  Candidates must finish a complete a course on phlebotomy and furnish documented proof of clinical or laboratory experience.

  • Quest Diagnostics                                                                  $32,718 
  • Laboratory Corporation of America (LabCorp)        $32,117
  • LabCorp of America                                                              $31,926    
  • Quest Diagnostics, Inc.                                                       $36,183          
  • Grifols, Inc                                                                               $25,529   
  • American Red Cross Blood Services                              $31,388           
  • American Red Cross                                                             $27,697                
  • Quest, Inc.                                                                                $32,473    
  • Path Group, Inc.                                                                    $31,416      
  • Clinical Pathology Laboratories, Inc.                          $31,179

Phlebotomist Salary Ranges

hands money

The phlebotomist salary averages out to $14.15 per hour for those with less than 20 years’ experience. Higher pay is possible when combined with knowledge and experience in medical terminology so that the doctor can help the patient.  There are many considerations before guaranteeing a specific salary. Traditionally, it is not the highest-paying job. However, it can be a catalyst in medicine; a virtual "stepping-stone" to get a foot in the door and still earn a salary while completing nursing school for example.  

Another benefit in becoming a phlebotomist is the shorter time it requires completing a phlebotomy certification course. Entry-level phlebotomists with certification and little experience can expect to earn about $7 per hour.  Location is an additional factor in determining a phlebotomist’s salary along with the facility you work in, and your work experience. Always remember, the bigger the city-the higher the pay.  Privately owned facilities and large medical conglomerates traditionally pay higher wages. Experience is the key to a higher your salary.  More experience on the job translates to more trust, less supervision, proper training, and reliability.

Best Paying Cities for Phlebotomists

Redding, California

$49,870

Vallejo, California

$49,180

Santa Maria, California

$47,520

San Francisco

$46,380

Oakland, California

$45,920

The Highest Mean Salaries for Phlebotomists Are

California

$41,360

Alaska

$40,670

District of Columbia

$40,600

Rhode Island

$39,160

Connecticut

$39,110

The world’s first phlebotomist practiced techniques using leeches and bloodletting to extract “disease” from the body.  Bloodletting traditionally treated patients suffering from a serious medical condition or as a preventative process including removing toxins from the body and balancing the humors, i.e., Hippocratic medicine comprises four humors: black bile, yellow bile, phlegm, and blood with each one corresponding to one of the traditional four temperaments:

  • Sanguine (enthusiastic, active, and social)
  • Choleric (short-tempered, fast, or irritable)
  • Melancholic (analytical, wise, and quiet)
  • Phlegmatic (relaxed and peaceful)

Based on Hippocratic medicine, society believed these four humors should be in alignment according to its strength and amount to have a healthy body. Hippocrates lived in the year 460 BC.  The world considers him the father of medicine to this day.  Since then the phlebotomist is a respected and necessary field of medicine with the phlebotomist salary averaging between $30,000-$35,000/per year plus benefits. Interested candidates who work as a phlebotomist must be able to work around blood.  It is the nature of the business.  You must also know how to handle needles, computer databases, various test tubes and the additives inside them and vials of blood.

You will spend many of your days working with people who don't feel well needing you to be compassionate yet professional.  You draw blood, authenticate your patient's or blood donor's identity, correctly label the vial and enter patient information into a database. You can expect to put together and maintain certain medical devices to prevent infecting patients.  

Phlebotomist are there to do the critical and essential jobs the doctors need to administer care and treatment for their patients.  The career phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician can look forward to spending their shifts in hospitals and laboratories-so make certain you're comfortable working inside medical institutions and offices.  They may ask you to work nights, weekends and when there are emergencies.  

If you are someone who enjoys working with people and find yourself intrigued by the medical profession, by all means, consider a career start in phlebotomy. You won't be making a huge salary, but it is a rewarding job because you're assisting doctors and helping people.  It's also a fact that your chances of finding work will stay good no matter where in the world you live in due to the health needs of aging seniors.  

You can look forward to steadying employment, benefits, and salary that expects to increase with experience and skill.  The average yearly salary in 2016 for the phlebotomist was $33,750.  The projected growth in phlebotomy is 24 percent, with 30,000 new jobs available through the year 2026; much faster than the average growth rate for all jobs.  Healthcare reform, the aging population, and state-of-the-art technology will attract an increased number of patients into the health care system, making more employment opportunities for the phlebotomist.    

Author: Emma Campbell

I am a director at the Phlebotomy Training Institute