Career as a Phlebotomist
By Diane Turner
Phlebotomists are medical support professionals whose main duties are collecting fluid samples from patients. As phlebotomist, you need to have great attention to detail and a steady hand because you cannot harm a patient while drawing blood or disturb care being provided to the patient at the point of drawing blood. The blood samples are for laboratory tests and this means that they need to be drawn carefully so as not to contaminate the samples. If correct procedure is not taken while collecting blood, the results may be rendered worthless and this will mean that fresh blood samples need to be drawn all over again. Besides drawing blood, the phlebotomist is responsible for ensuring that the blood is well placed and transported to the laboratory as is required and when required.
As a phlebotomist, you need to explain the procedure you are about to take to the patient. This gives you an opportunity to reassure the patient since needles can be nerve wrecking. After you have drawn blood, you will apply dressing to the punctured skin to restrain any form bleeding and label the blood sample you have taken for identification purposes. Usually, laboratories take many blood samples for different tests and unless you label these samples, the findings will not indicate whose blood has been drawn. Phlebotomists work with strict timing schedules and the blood samples need to be delivered within the required time schedules and to the required laboratory as well. The phlebotomists also needs to record findings and record data into the clinic or hospital computer system.
Phlebotomists work with different kinds of people and different ages as well. Not only should the medical professional have the ability to calm the nerves of the patient but also have a steady hand draw blood even in volatile situations. Phlebotomists deal with people who have various conditions. Some of these illnesses can be contagious and professional must wear protective gear with gloves being a must. Different conditions come with different procedures and sometimes blood is drawn from a vein on the arm while in other times blood is collected with a simple prick on the tip of the finger. You need to use the appropriate procedure depending on the patient.
95% of all phlebotomists are women with the remaining 5% being men. Usually these professionals work 37.5 hours per week and they work 9-5 shifts. As a phlebotomist, you are subjected to various conditions and besides wearing gloves at all times when collecting blood samples, these professionals also take immunization shots for diseases such as Hepatitis B. If you are thinking of joining this noble medical profession, you need to have good communication skills since as mentioned earlier you will be working with various patients many of whom will require calming down. You also must undergo appropriate training in medical phlebotomy.
Phlebotomy can be carried out as a career on its own or to supplement an existing medical career. In order to be certified, you need to pass an exam which is usually conducted by the American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians or other authority bodies. Course work includes lessons on anatomy, physiology, skin puncturing procedures, collection of other bodily fluids and precautions to take while collecting bodily fluids.
While it is possible to get a job as a phlebotomist without educational training, you still need to have undergone practical training under a medical professional. Most employers however prefer to employ certified phlebotomists because incorrect procedures may bring about consequences such as law suits. The good thing is that you can study this profession at your local community college and vocational institutions. This training could also provide credits for an Associate degree.
If you wish to get certification from the American Society for Clinical Pathology also known as ASCP, you need to complete 40 hours of classroom studies and have at least 120 hours of hands on training. You also must have 100 blood unaided and successful collections. When it comes to the Association of Phlebotomy Technicians (APT)exam, you are required to complete and an accredited training program in phlebotomy and have had successful 100 venipuncturesdocumented. You also must be a member of the APT. Last but not least you can also get certification with the National Phlebotomy Association also known as the NPA. This body requires that you attend venipuncture techniques classes, 160 classroom hours as well as hands on internship to gain practical exposure.
One of the things you need to be careful about when selecting a school for your phlebotomy classes is the ability to gain certification. The school should arrange for the required exams with the right body. A career in phlebotomy could expose you to other exciting medical careers and the possibility of advancing your education to that of a medical assistant, nurse or any other medical field you fancy is much easier.
Given the fact that medical services are highly dependent on phlebotomists, it’s safe to say their job outlook is bright. The medical field always has more patients than care givers and it is expected that demand for phlebotomyprofessionals is going to rise drastically over the coming years.
There are various areas of employment as far as a career in phlebotomy is concerned and you could get a job in a clinic, private practice, government agency, hospital, nursing facility, laboratories and blood banks as well.Understanding what this career has in store for you could help you plan adequately as you enter the field.
Phlebotomist Average Salary
As a person thinking of joining this career, it is important to know how much you can earn. The average salary of a phlebotomist is $30,000. This amount may be more or less depending on the experience you have on the job, training and even work place. This field also has part-time workers and these phlebotomists earn hourly wages not less than $10 with some earning more than $30.
The benefits and perks that come with the salary for a phlebotomist will vary depending on where one is employed and location as well.Below we address some of these factors that affect and influence the salary a phlebotomist earns.
Phlebotomist Salary Factors and Influences
As a phlebotomist, your experience has a lot to do with your salary. This is a common aspect that is consideredby most professions and the logic behind experience usually boils down to the experience that the professional has gained. The phlebotomy career is therefore no exception and the more experience you have, the better your pay. If for example you have been working for one to four years, you can expect a salary between $20,000 and $36,000 annually. Phlebotomists with five to 10 years experience earn a really good salary and this could be anywhere in the range of $36,000 to $40,000. There are also phlebotomists who have been practitioners in their field for more than a decade. The salary of a phlebotomist with more than 10 years experience is expected to be more than $40,000.
The employer also plays a major role when it comes to how much a phlebotomist earns and you will find that most phlebotomists work in hospitals, NGOs or non-governmental organizations as well as government agencies.
NGOs pay their phlebotomists more than the national average and though experience will also matter, phlebotomists in this sector could earn between $36,000 and $39,000 every year. Hospitals are the major employers of phlebotomists and hospital phlebotomists earn an average annual salary of $29,000. Phlebotomistswho work in laboratories earn more and take home an average pay of $30,000 with those working in clinical laboratories earning $35,000.
Certificationis important. As mentioned earlier, most employers shy away from employing phlebotomists who are uncertified and certified phlebotomists earn more than the national average salary for a phlebotomist at $32,000.
Location is also a significant factor to consider when getting into this employment sector. Some of the best cities to work as a phlebotomist include: Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington D.C, Boston, Newark and San Francisco. Though these cities provide a higher pay, their standards of living are higher and you therefore need to consider a couple of things before you can actually pack your belongings in search for that higheraverage phlebotomist salary.
Phlebotomist Salary Compared To Related Fields
Phlebotomists interact with various medical professionals in their line of work but are their salaries competitive and just how do they compare when it comes to their annual pay? We provide a list of similar professions in the health care field and their average salaries as well.
Average salary of a Medical Assistant: $39,000
Average Salary of a Medical Imaging Technician: $46,000
Average Salary of a Medical Billing and Coding Professional: $39,000
Average Salary of a Lab Technician: $37,000
As you can see, a Phlebotomist earns less than most medical professionals.
Phlebotomist Salary by State
As was mentioned earlier, location affects the average salary and this is mostly due to the standards of living. If the standards of living are higher, you can expect that the salaries will also be adjusted upwards as well. Below are some of the salaries you can expect to be paid in the following states.
Phlebotomist Salary in New York: $35,000
Phlebotomist Salary in Massachusetts: $34,000
Phlebotomist Salary in California: $33,000
Phlebotomist Salary in Connecticut: $32,000
Phlebotomist Salary in Illinois: $31,000
Phlebotomist Salary in Florida: $28,000
Phlebotomist Salary in Texas: $28,000
Phlebotomist Salary in Alaska: $25,000
Phlebotomist Salary in Hawaii: $21,000
Phlebotomist Types of Salaries
There are various job titles in the phlebotomy medical field and below are some of the titles you could acquire and the salaries that come with them.
Mobile Phlebotomist Average Salary: $27,000
Mobile phlebotomists travel different areas drawing blood mainly for blood donation campaigns. They travel extensively and usually require certification and experience.
Certified Phlebotomist Average Salary: $32,000
Certified phlebotomists are basically phlebotomists who have undertaken formal education in their profession and certified by the relevant authorities.
Phlebotomist Technician Average Salary: $31,000
In order to become a phlebotomy technician, you do not need to have more educational requirements than what you already have. However, having certification enhances your chances of getting a job in this field.
Medical Assistant Phlebotomist Average Salary: $31,000
Medical assistant phlebotomists double as phlebotomists and medical assistants as well. Their duties therefore include basic phlebotomy tasks in addition to caring for patients, keeping patient records and more.
RN Phlebotomist Average Salary: $31,000
An RN phlebotomist has more responsibilities than the average phlebotomist. In order to attain this ranking, you need to have an associate degree or bachelor’s degree. RN phlebotomists perform the normal tasks of phlebotomists and are allowed to administer medication as well.
Phlebotomy Supervisor Average Salary: $44,000
A supervising phlebotomist is usually in charge of the entire phlebotomy team in the hospital and also manages the laboratory. To acquire this position, you will need to have several years of experience; an associate’s degree and you must be a certified phlebotomist.
History of Phlebotomy
The world of phlebotomy has an interesting history that can be traced back to ancient Egypt where bloodletting was first identified. However, the practice then was less scientific and more spiritual as it was meant to ward off evil spirits. In the US, bloodletting came about in the 18th century and was introduced by pilgrims. This procedure involved draining blood until the person begun feeling faint. This process was obviously risky given the fact that too much blood was drawn from the patient at once. In modern day, drawing blood is strictly for health reasons and only a minimum amount can be taken from a person even when donating blood. Phlebotomists draw only what is enough and this done using various methods the most common being via the vein.
Phlebotomist Salary Outlook – Conclusion
It is difficult to establish the exact number of phlebotomists since they are listed amongst clinical lab technicians and technologists whose number is 78,600. However, it is approximated that there are $15,000 phlebotomists employed in the US. Most of these professionals are employed in laboratories and hospitals while others can be found working for federal government, state government and other employment agencies. New technologies are set to bring changes to this profession with devices such as: hand held tablets and eye wear technology that could give phlebotomists the ability to view a patient’s blood through the skin to observe blood concentration levels and other signals as well. This is a profession under siege as more and morehealth facilities are cutting costs by requiring their nurses and health care workers to acquire phlebotomy certification. This therefore means that if you are looking to get into this profession, it is best you combine your course with other certifications such nursing in order to have a place in the job market. For those already employed, you may need to get certification to remain relevant in the profession. The current average phlebotomist salary is $30,000.