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What is a Phlebotomist

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An Excellent Entry Point Into the Field of Medicine

If you're passionate about the field of medicine and helping people, but don't want to spend years in training, a career as a phlebotomist may be an excellent fit. Phlebotomists work hands-on with patients as they draw blood for medical testing. Though the hours can sometimes be unpredictable, full benefits in most positions make this a good career choice for mothers who are raising children.

Job Description

Phlebotomists work one-on-one with patients to draw blood for medical testing or assist with blood donations. They help to allay the fears of patients who are nervous about having tests done and are responsible for proper labeling of all blood samples. Phlebotomists must keep meticulous records and accurately enter patient identification information into computer databases, as well as keep all instruments and treatment areas clean, sanitized and free of debris. Unpredictable shift hours for those who work in hospital labs can make the work challenging for those with small children, but the benefits are generally good.

Education Requirements

Phlebotomists must earn a high school diploma or the equivalent and then enroll in a certification program, usually offered through a local community college or university. Programs take less than a year and end with a professional certification exam. California, Louisiana, Nevada and Washington require that phlebotomists also obtain state certification to work in the field.

The median pay for phlebotomists is $32,710 per year, which means that half earn more than this, while the other half earns less. The top 10 percent earns more than $46,850, while the bottom 10 percent earns less than $23,330 per year.

Industry

Roughly 37 percent of all phlebotomists work in hospital environments, while the rest work in laboratories, emergency health services, medical offices and outpatient care offices. Work is generally in a medical setting, but some phlebotomists must travel to patients' homes or assisted living communities as part of their daily routine. Blood safety is extremely important in this line of work. Shifts require long hours on your feet, so good shoes and physical stamina are a plus.

Years of Experience

Experience has some impact on pay for phlebotomists, as well as skill in medical terminology. This career can help you support your family as you pursue more lucrative careers in the medical field. One projection of income looks like this:

  • Entry-Level: $20,790‒$35,785
  • Mid-Career: $23,798‒$39,531
  • Experienced: $25,935‒$42,641
  • Late Career: $26,731‒$45,595

Job Growth Trend

Job opportunities for phlebotomists are expected to increase by 24 percent over the next decade, which is much faster than in other industries. With a growing and aging population, doctors rely on phlebotomists to help with medical testing in all environments. Job prospects are very good for professionally certified phlebotomists.