Phlebotomy is a growing career in the health care field with competitive salaries and opportunities for advancement. As the population ages and medical professionals are needed more than ever, phlebotomists can find both full-time and part-time employment in a diverse range of medical settings or as traveling professionals. In this article, you'll learn more about what a phlebotomist is, what they do, and their job outlook. You'll also find common certificates and tips for maximizing your earning potential.
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, is a health care professional that draws blood from patients for laboratory testing, transfusions, and research. As a phlebotomist, you’ll have opportunities to work one-on-one with patients of all ages or as a specialist with pediatric or geriatric patients.
Phlebotomists work in a wide variety of health care environments in both full-time and part-time positions. Some of the most common work environments include:
Skilled nursing facilities
Medical and testing laboratories
Blood donor organizations
Substance abuse facilities
Public health centers
There are many employment opportunities for traveling phlebotomists as well. Insurance companies and home health companies have positions that require in-home and in-facility visits. If you're not looking for permanent employment, temporary agencies hire phlebotomists to fill short and long-term positions.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts the number of job opportunities for phlebotomists will grow by 10 percent, which is faster than average for all occupations, between 2021 and 2031 . This increase in jobs, they predict, will lead to an average of 19,500 openings for phlebotomists every year during the decade.
A career as a phlebotomist typically offers job security, competitive pay, and flexible work hours. Job opportunities exist in many health care environments and provide the opportunity to work with and meet many people from various walks of life.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the mean annual salary for phlebotomists at $37,380 . Here are the salaries you can expect to make depending on where you work:
Outpatient care centers: $38,220
Medical and diagnostic labs: $38,040
Physician offices: $36,410
Other ambulatory health care services: $35,360
Generally, hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, state government-owned medical facilities, and colleges and universities offer the highest-paid positions.
There are several factors impacting the salary you can expect to earn as a phlebotomist such as your geographical location, education, and experience level.
Location is a particularly critical factor in determining the salary of a phlebotomist. The most promising states for phlebotomist careers are:
California: $59,401 
Washington, DC: $49,925 
New York: $52,967 
Massachusetts: $66,135 
Washington: $62,630 
Looking beyond geographical locations, your level of education and experience also affect your salary.
Traveling phlebotomists are in high demand as the population ages. Salaries range from $29,000 to $46,000 , depending on experience, but you get to experience different clinics and environments. Many employers offer additional compensation for gas and time spent traveling.
According to Indeed, the average salary for phlebotomists is $48,895 . Entry level phlebotomists might make $47,072, while those with six or more years of experience can make $54,007 and up.
To become a phlebotomist, you do not need a bachelor's degree. A high school diploma or GED is enough to enter a phlebology certification program and go on to take the certification exam. Typically, salaries do not change much even if you do have a bachelor's degree, though some employers might regard it favorably.
A career in phlebotomy offers opportunities for increased earning potential. Some include gaining experience, location, obtaining a degree, and becoming certified. Here’s a closer look at each.
Gain experience. The more experience you have, the more you can generally increase your earning potential. Some employers only require experience for promotions, while others prefer continuing education.
You can gain experience with in-house training offered by hospitals and other health care facilities. You’ll learn venipuncture techniques and get hands-on equipment experience. Phlebotomy opportunities can include internships, so check with any medical facility you’d like to work at to see what’s available.
Consider specializing. You may want to work with a specific age demographic, and there are opportunities available in pediatric and geriatric phlebotomy. Because these populations require more challenging blood draws, you must typically complete specialized training and exams to work with them.
Choose a location. The geographic location you work in can impact your earning potential. Highly populated and affluent metro areas offer more earning opportunities.
You can also look beyond geographical locations and consider around-the-clock care facilities where you can earn shift-differential pay.
Consider getting a degree. Although a degree isn’t necessary to work as a phlebotomist, accredited degree programs provide classroom training and job experience. Associate degree programs are available at many colleges, and bachelor’s degree programs in medical technology are also options to consider if you aspire to be a phlebotomist.
A degree can result in a more competitive salary and it can be beneficial if your goal is to seek a higher position in the future, such as a medical technologist.
Get certified. Even if your state doesn’t require certification, it can be advantageous to earn one. Certified phlebotomists can often earn a higher salary than non-certified phlebotomists.
Some programs provide online learning. However, clinical experience is needed for course completion that will require completing a specified number of venipunctures on patients or mannequins. When choosing an online program, make sure the school has a nearby place for you to complete your clinical hours.
There are many types of certifications for phlebotomists, each with different requirements. While one isn’t necessarily better than the others, the prerequisites are less challenging for some certifications . Here are some examples:
Phlebotomy Technician Certification (PBT-ASCP) offered by the American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians: This certification requires a high school diploma and 40 hours of class training, and 100 hours of practice.
Phlebotomy Technician Certificate (PTC-ASPT) offered by the American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians: To qualify for this certification, you must have completed a phlebotomy training program and six months of full-time or one year of part-time experience as a phlebotomist.
Certified Phlebotomy Technician (CPT-NHA) offered by the National Healthcareer Association: This certification requires completing classes through the National Healthcareer Association.
Registered Phlebotomy Technician (RPT-AMT) offered by the American Medical Technologists: For the RTT-AMT certification, you’ll need to pass an accredited phlebotomy course within the past four years and 1,040 cumulative hours working as a phlebotomist within the past three years.
Certified Phlebotomist Technologist (CPT-NPA) offered by the National Phlebotomy Association: Along with venipuncture training, requirements include 160 hours of classroom lessons and 200 hours of practical application.
As you’re thinking about a career in phlebotomy, you might consider joining a professional association or taking an online course to expand your knowledge and skill set. The National Phlebotomy Association offers many benefits for professional development, including a job board and a schedule of events for phlebotomists and those interested in entering the career field. The University of Pennsylvania's Vital Signs: Understanding What the Body Is Telling Us explores the anatomy and physiology underlying vital signs in just 14 hours.
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US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Phlebotomists: Occupational Outlook Handbook, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/phlebotomists.htm#tab-6." Accessed January 17, 2023.
US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Phlebotomists: Occupational Outlook Handbook, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/phlebotomists.htm#tab-5." Accessed January 17, 2023.
Indeed. "Phlebotomist salary in California, https://www.indeed.com/career/phlebotomist/salaries/CA." Accessed January 17, 2023.
Indeed. "Phlebotomist salary in Washington, DC, https://www.indeed.com/career/phlebotomist/salaries/Washington--DC?from=top_sb." Accessed January 17, 2023.
Indeed. "Phlebotomist salary in New York State, https://www.indeed.com/career/phlebotomist/salaries/NY?from=top_sb." Accessed January 17, 2023.
Indeed. "Phlebotomist salary in Massachusetts, https://www.indeed.com/career/phlebotomist/salaries/MA?from=top_sb." Accessed January 17, 2023.
Indeed. "Phlebotomist salary in Washington State, https://www.indeed.com/career/phlebotomist/salaries/WA?from=top_sb." Accessed January 17, 2023.
Phlebotomy U. "What Are Traveling Phlebotomy Jobs?, https://phlebotomyu.com/traveling-phlebotomy-jobs/." Accessed January 17, 2023.
Indeed. "Phlebotomist salary in United States, https://www.indeed.com/career/phlebotomist/salaries?from=top_sb." Accessed January 17, 2023.
Northwest Suburban College. "Phlebotomy Certifications: 5 Types You Need to Know About, https://nwsc.edu/phlebotomy-certifications-types/.” Accessed January 17, 2023.
This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.