What is a phlebotomist?
A phlebotomist is a clinical technician who uses various methods to draw blood for use in research, transfusion, donation or diagnostic testing. They work in hospitals, blood banks, regional clinics and other medical facilities. Duties of a phlebotomist can include organizing collected specimens according to laboratory standards, entering patient and specimen data into a computer, sanitary disposal of contaminated equipment and transportation of specimen samples between collection sites and laboratories.
What is a phlebotomist's salary?
Medical and clinical laboratory technicians overall earned a median wage higher than the national average in 2012, although only earners in the top 25 percent of the phlebotomist salary range took home comparable annual wages. The median phlebotomist salary in 2012 came in below the national average for all occupations. Although factors such as job experience and geographical location can help determine a phlebotomist salary, the gap between the highest-paid and the lowest-paid phlebotomists is relatively small.
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Is it difficult to find a job as a phlebotomist?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that job opportunities for phlebotomists and other medical laboratory technicians is expected to increase much faster than the average for all occupations between 2012 and 2022. Reasons for this rapid growth, according to the BLS, include greater demand for technical diagnostic services by a generally aging population and a projected federal expansion of the availability of health insurance that leads to increased access to medical care.
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Is there room for advancement as a phlebotomist?
Advancement within the phlebotomy specialization itself is rare, but clinical technicians can pursue multiple career paths after gaining job experience and acquiring some additional education. Phlebotomists could move into nursing, for example, and add a broader spectrum of practical knowledge to their technical experience.
Paths to advancement that lead outside of the field of direct health care exist as well. The BLS includes biological and chemical technicians on the list of occupations similar to medical laboratory work, and both offer significant pay increases over a phlebotomist salary for candidates who combine their experience with an associate's or bachelor's degree in the appropriate subject.
Do phlebotomists need to be licensed or certified?
There is no nationally enforced licensing or registration requirement for phlebotomists, but some states may require that candidates for clinical laboratory positions earn a license or certification. Even if phlebotomy certification or licensing is not required in a particular state, certain employers may prefer to hire only phlebotomists who are certified or licensed.
Criteria for earning phlebotomy certifications vary from state to state and can be obtained by contacting state boards of occupational licensing or departments of health.
Phlebotomists, Occupational Employment and Wages, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012
Phlebotomists, Occupational Information Network, 2013
Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technologists and Technicians, Occupational Outlook Handbook,
Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012,
National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012