Becoming a Phlebotomist | Harris School of Business
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5 Things to Know about Becoming a Phlebotomist

Phlebotomy technicians are an important part of the healthcare field

If you have ever had your blood tested, you have probably met a phlebotomist. Phlebotomy technicians are responsible for drawing blood from patients and making sure that all procedures are followed correctly when handling the blood samples.

The Occupational Outlook Handbook, published by the U.S. Department of Labor, describes this career field, and is helpful to anyone who is considering getting phlebotomy training.

1. What do phlebotomists do?

There is a lot more to being a phlebotomist than just drawing blood. They play an important role in the blood testing process, helping to ensure that samples are drawn correctly so that the blood testing process can run smoothly.

Here are some of the tasks that a phlebotomist might do on a typical day:

  • Check with a patient to make sure their information matches up with the information on the paperwork
  • Talk with patients to help make them feel more comfortable
  • Perform blood draws on patients
  • Verify the patient’s identity again in order to label the vials accurately
  • Enter patient information into databases
  • Keep work area neat, clean, and sanitary
  • Organize and maintain the proper instruments for the job, such as needles, tubes, and vials.

Do these job responsibilities sound interesting to you? If so, you might want to read more about becoming a phlebotomist. Other areas to consider are the work environment, the job outlook for the future, and the type of wage you can expect to earn in this field.

2. How is the workplace environment?

Phlebotomists can work in a number of different medical facilities, such as hospitals, diagnostic laboratories, medical offices, blood donation centers, and other healthcare facilities. The working environment is well-lit, temperature-controlled, and sanitary, with an expectation that all employees act in a professional and courteous manner.

Most positions are full-time, and many positions—particularly those in hospitals—require weekend hours, as well as nighttime and holiday hours. Many phlebotomists spend much of the day on their feet administering to patients as they perform blood draws. Most phlebotomists wear scrubs to work, which are expected to be neat, clean, and in good condition.

3. How do you get trained to draw blood?

There are several different routes you can choose for training. Some students choose a phlebotomy program that specializes only in training you for this one specific area. Other students choose to enroll in a medical assistant training program, which will provide training in phlebotomy as well as other clinical areas.

Programs are typically available through community colleges, vocational schools, or private career training schools. During the training, you will learn about medical terminology, anatomy, and physiology. Most programs have a special laboratory area where you will learn the techniques, protocols, and safety measures for drawing blood. The training usually takes less than one year.

After receiving the training, many students decide to take a certification exam in order to become certified.

4. How much do phlebotomists make?

The amount of money you can make as a phlebotomist depends on a variety of factors, such as whether you are certified, how many years of experience you have, and even your geographical location. You can learn more about the median annual wage of phlebotomists at the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook.  

Another way to learn about your earning potential is to look at job listings in your area. Job listings for phlebotomist positions sometimes include the hourly wage, and this can help you get an idea of what to expect in this career field.

5. What is the job outlook for the future?

The Occupational Outlook Handbook is a good resource for learning about the job outlook for many fields. For phlebotomists, the handbook projects that “employment of phlebotomists is projected to grow 27 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations.”

The Handbook goes on to explain: “Blood analysis remains an essential function in medical laboratories and hospitals. Demand for phlebotomists will remain high as doctors and other healthcare professionals require blood work for analysis and diagnoses.”

But the Handbook also cautions that “federal health legislation will expand the number of patients who have access to health insurance… As hospitals and medical laboratories evaluate their staffing needs, phlebotomists may be replaced by other more skilled healthcare workers.”

If you are considering this field, it is important to weigh many factors, and determine what is the best decision for you. We hope this article has helped you to decide whether getting phlebotomy training is a good path for you.