Phlebotomists are expected to experience high growth in employment in the coming years. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics provides a growth figure of 23% for the years between 2018 to 2028. This growth will be driven by an increasing number of hospitals, laboratories and blood donation centers needing phlebotomists to carry out bloodwork.
Since blood analysis remains central to various medical functions, the demand for phlebotomists will remain high. Job prospects will be greatest for those phlebotomists who have a certification from a reputable organization.
If you want to contribute to the field of medicine and take a position in a high growth field of phlebotomy, you have come to the right place. The following guide on the steps to become a phlebotomist in the US will provide information on the educational requirements, licensing and experience requirements, along with a discussion on the salary potential of the field.
What Does a Phlebotomist Do?
Phlebotomists perform medical functions such as drawing blood for tests, research, donations or transfusions. In addition to that, they also talk to their patients and provide assistance where needed. Phlebotomists also perform small in-between tasks such as labelling vials of blood, entering patient information into a database, assembling and maintaining medical instruments and keeping work areas clean and sanitary.
Steps to Become a Phlebotomist
In order to become a phlebotomist, aspiring candidates have to fulfill a series of educational, experience and licensing requirements. The following list of steps provides all the details you need to get started in this career.
Step 1: Get a High School Diploma
This is the minimum amount of education you need to complete before you can enroll in a phlebotomy training program.
Step 2: Enroll in a Postsecondary Nondegree Award
It is not mandatory for candidates to complete this program, but quite a few employers prefer to hire phlebotomists with these credentials. These programs are typically available at vocational schools, technical schools or community colleges and take less than 1 year to complete. The course structure of these programs would involve classroom sessions and lab work, with instruction in subjects like physiology, medical terminology and anatomy.
Step 3: Complete on-the-job Training
Most employers would require newly hired phlebotomists to complete some on-the-job training. No matter what the education level of the applicant, phlebotomists receive basic training on identifying, labeling and tracking blood samples. That being said, a lot of phlebotomists enter this occupation with just a high school diploma, and learn on the job.
Step 4: Get Certified
Almost every employer gives preference to phlebotomists with a professional certification. Organizations offering certifications for phlebotomists, include The National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT). To get certified, candidates will be required to meet certain requirements and pass exams – both practical and written.
How Much Does a Phlebotomist Earn?
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual median wage for phlebotomists was $35,510 in 2019. The top paying state for this occupation was California, with an annual mean wage of $45,940. The top paying industry for phlebotomists was outpatient care centers, with an annual mean wage of $42,920.