Phlebotomy can be a rewarding career as you get to work with a variety of people. You get to help patients on a daily basis. On top of it all, it doesn’t take a lot of time or money to start training. It’s considered an entry-level career, but it’s a much better option than many jobs.
While phlebotomy isn’t for everyone, it’s an excellent opportunity for anyone who can handle being around blood/needles and likes working with people.
You may rarely hear the words ‘phlebotomy’ and ‘career’ together. There is a misconception that you can’t be a phlebotomist forever, but that’s not true. Not only is it a good job choice, but it’s a superb option for a long, successful career no matter your age or experience.
When you’re thinking about different jobs, something in the healthcare industry can seem overwhelming. But, phlebotomy is different than many other medical careers in how much training and experience is required. The advantages outweigh the disadvantages.
Why Choose a Career in Phlebotomy?
This guide will explore the benefits of choosing a career in phlebotomy. If you’ve ever had an interest in the medical field, it’s a great opportunity. We’ll cover what is expected of phlebotomists and what characteristics you should have as a person. Phlebotomy is an excellent career choice, but it can take the right person for the job to turn it into a life-long career.
Once you know why becoming a phlebotomist is a good idea, you can find a training program near you right away!
It Doesn’t Take Long to Become a Phlebotomist
For starters, one of the reasons phlebotomy is a good career choice is because it doesn’t take much training. Phlebotomy training can take less than a year. In most cases, it can be about 4-8 months.
This depends on the school or training facility that you attend. You can even take some phlebotomy classes online. This is a great way to accommodate busy schedules if you already have a different job.
Though not all states demand certification, you can take training to become a certified phlebotomist. It’s a good idea to do this even if your state doesn’t force it.
Certified phlebotomists gain more experience, and they may be more likely to get hired. When you become certified, you may also get a higher salary than a non-certified phlebotomist.
Phlebotomy training is usually split into two parts. In the first half of your training, you’ll cover:
- Lab safety rules
- Human anatomy and systems
- How to perform venipunctures
- Medical terminology
In the second half, you’ll have to perform venipunctures. You’ll have to successfully draw blood from a large number of people (usually over 100) to get through your training. This hands-on experience ensures that you’ll be ready to get hired anywhere. Though training doesn’t take long, it’s effective and prepares you for almost any situation a phlebotomist might face.
Phlebotomists Are in Great Demand
The healthcare industry is a secure one. People will always need medical care, no matter what. With the advancements in technology, healthcare professionals are now able to do more than ever before. This has carried over into the world of phlebotomy.
Today, many conditions and diseases can be diagnosed with a blood sample than there have been in the past. Because of this, more phlebotomists are needed to draw blood from patients.
The population, as a whole, is also getting older. The baby boomer generation is more likely to need bloodwork done as they continue to age.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job growth for phlebotomy from 2016-2026 is 25%. That’s much faster than the national average for other jobs. Because of this need for qualified phlebotomists, you’re likely to get hired quickly after you complete training.
This is terrific news for people who need a job right away. Job security is another reason phlebotomy is a fantastic career choice.
Where Can a Phlebotomist Work?
Since you now know phlebotomists are heavily needed, you should know where you might be able to work. That’s another benefit of this career: There are many opportunities.
The first place that usually comes to peoples’ minds is working in a hospital. Busy hospitals all over the country need several phlebotomists on staff at all times.
Many times, a phlebotomist will be the first person a patient sees so they can get their blood drawn and tested. Phlebotomists in hospitals work as a part of a team of doctors, lab techs, and more.
But, if you can’t find work in an area hospital, there are other locations where phlebotomists are often needed.
Some of these spots include:
- Emergency clinics
- Private practices
- Red Cross/local blood banks
- Nursing homes
While the job outlook for phlebotomy itself is good, so are your opportunities to find work. A quick search online can make it easy to find places looking for phlebotomists near you.
Sometimes, a hospital will be the best fit. But, don’t limit yourself to working in a big hospital if some of the other options listed here intrigue you more.
Phlebotomy Pays Well
For many entry-level jobs, you probably don’t expect to make a fortune. This is especially true for a job that takes less than a year to train for. But, phlebotomists earn a comfortable salary.
On average, a phlebotomist earns around $33,000 per year. If you work full-time in a hospital, clinic, etc., you can also expect benefits like insurance.
Looking back at training, you can save money from the start. Not only does training to become a phlebotomist not take long, but it’s also not expensive.
Most training programs won’t cost more than $4000. Some may even just cost a few hundred dollars. So, you won’t have to start your career as a phlebotomist underneath a mountain of debt.
Because there is such a high demand for phlebotomists, the salary reflects that. Facilities are willing to pay more for qualified phlebotomists, and even provide training if they work their afterward.
If you choose to become certified, you can even start out making more money or negotiate for more before getting hired.
Flexible Work Schedule
Depending on where you choose to work, you can count on a flexible schedule.
If you work in a busy hospital, for example, you may work overnight hours instead of a typical 9-5 job. If you want something more routine, you can try for a job at a private practice that is only open during standard business hours. Many phlebotomists also choose to do part-time work, so they can ‘trade’ shifts with co-workers if they need extra time off.
Another option is to become a mobile/traveling phlebotomist. Think of this as a type of freelancing. Mobile phlebotomists get ‘hired’ by different groups or medical facilities.
These facilities use phlebotomists once in a while, as needed. But, they don’t need one on staff every day, or they can’t afford it. Things like blood drives, busy hospitals, nursing homes, etc., sometimes use mobile phlebotomists.
It’s essential to build up a client base, but once you do you can work as often or as little as you’d like.
Opportunities for Professional Growth
You already know that phlebotomy pays better than many other entry-level jobs. But, it’s also an excellent career choice because it comes with many opportunities for growth.
Some people remain a phlebotomist for their entire lives. You can find success in doing that. But, there are also opportunities for promotions. Or, you can choose to use phlebotomy as a stepping stone to a different medical career path.
The more certifications you get, the higher you can take your phlebotomy career. Certain types of phlebotomists need extra training. A good example of this is a therapeutic phlebotomist. But, that training and title come with a higher salary.
There are also higher positions for phlebotomists. With experience, you can become a supervisor. Again, that includes a pay raise. A supervisor is in charge of a phlebotomy team and makes sure everything runs smoothly.
Some people use phlebotomy as a way into the medical field. It’s not easy to afford medical school or spend years without working while you attend classes. So, you can start off as a phlebotomist with a flexible schedule and continue to take classes.
Being a phlebotomist will enable you to gain experience in the healthcare industry and can be your first step toward a different career. Specialists, nurses, and even doctors can start out as phlebotomists.
Working with People
Phlebotomy is hardly ever a ‘boring’ career. One of the most exciting parts of being a phlebotomist is that you’ll get to work with different people every day. Depending on where you choose to work, you could see dozens of patients a day. This will range from small children to senior citizens.
If you think you’d fare better working with a specific group, you can narrow your employment options. For example, if you strictly want to work with senior citizens, you might find a job in a nursing home.
If you’re a ‘people person’ and you enjoy the conversational part of healthcare, you’ll love being a phlebotomist. Plus, the more you interact with your patients, the more comfortable they will likely be. That will make your job much more relaxed.
Phlebotomists Are Well-Respected
Just because phlebotomy is an entry-level career doesn’t mean it’s not an important one.
Phlebotomists do work that is essential to the medical field. Blood tests are so common because they help to save lives and diagnose medical conditions.
Some of the conditions that can be found with a simple blood test include:
- Prostate cancer
Blood tests can also determine things like genetic markers and thyroid disorders. This isn’t a complete list, and chances are it’ll keep growing.
Thanks to advancements in technology, blood tests can determine more than ever. A doctor may order a blood sample, but it’s up to a phlebotomist to draw and label it correctly.
Because blood is such an essential resource in the healthcare system, phlebotomists are well-respected members of a medical team.
Travel and Volunteer Opportunities
Just because you don’t have to go to medical school for years doesn’t mean you won’t be an essential part of the medical community. Phlebotomists are needed around the world for medical care. In fact, there are volunteer opportunities for phlebotomists. This isn’t limited to facilities in the United States.
If you have the travel bug and want to help people around the world, you can have that opportunity with phlebotomy. Many different organizations need phlebotomists all over the world.
Many of these locations don’t have access to medical care. If you can volunteer and help people who need medical care, phlebotomy is a great way to do it.
Every Day is Completely Different
You might think that the job of a phlebotomist would be routine work. While it’s true that you’re doing the same job every day, no two days will probably ever be the same.
Phlebotomy is an exciting career for many reasons. We already touched on the fact that you’ll work with different people. The patients you see every day will keep things interesting, but that’s only part of what makes the job exciting.
Depending on where you work, you could be in a busy environment. You might need to be on your feet for a long time, and you may need to be able to move quickly. Phlebotomists can be the first person a patient sees in a hospital or clinic.
Knowing what you’re dealing with and how important it is can give you a boost of adrenaline every day. You also work with medical labs. Hospitals usually have labs on sight, so you’ll need to be fast on your feet to get blood samples to these labs.
Consider yourself to be the first line of defense for different conditions that can be found with a blood test. The work you do might feel routine, but every patient is different, and every day will be different, too. If you’re someone who values routine and wants a slow-paced job, phlebotomy might not be the right career for you.
Help People Overcome Their Fears
Good phlebotomists do much more than draw blood and label it. That’s why it’s so important to enjoy working with people. Phlebotomists can end up meaning a lot more to a patient than what you might expect. Many people experience bad blood draws. This includes painful sticks or having to get stuck many times.
If you commit to being great at what you do, you can get rid of those fears and memories of bad experiences. The medical field doesn’t just need more phlebotomists. It requires great phlebotomists.
The more scared people are, the less they might be willing to get their blood drawn. As a result, conditions can go undiagnosed and untreated. If a patient knows there’s nothing to worry about during a blood draw, they’ll come sooner.
Then, conditions can be diagnosed and treated sooner. Being kind and making sure your patients are comfortable is just another way you can save lives as a phlebotomist.
Who Should Become a Phlebotomist?
One thing to consider when you’re wondering if phlebotomy is a good career choice is whether it’s the right choice for you. You’ve seen some of the main benefits of the career. But, it takes a particular type of person to be a skilled phlebotomist.
There are qualities you should have that will likely make you enjoy this career more and be better at it.
Some of these qualities include:
- People skills
- Ability to be part of a team
- Ability to stand on your feet for hours at a time
- Attention to detail
- Not squeamish about blood
While phlebotomy is an entry-level job, it’s still a medical career. People who come to see phlebotomists can be nervous or scared, or uncomfortable.
It’s your job to help them in whatever way you can. If you’re thinking about getting into this career just because of the short training time, you might want to reconsider.
Disadvantages of a Career in Phlebotomy
Now that you know all about the significant benefits of becoming a phlebotomist, it’s important to know about some of the drawbacks. No job is perfect. Some of the disadvantages to a phlebotomy career might not affect you. But, they are necessary to know about before committing to this career. Some of the problems with phlebotomy include:
- There are risks: Though it isn’t necessarily considered a high-risk position, there are things that can happen to a phlebotomist. Airborne contaminants could be around. Or, you may get accidentally stuck with a needle. If that needle is contaminated, you could be at risk for a disease. Working with blood can present a lot of risk factors. Handling every single tool with great care is essential. Injuring a patient can be even worse. You might lose your job, and the medical facility you work for could get into a lot of trouble.
- Long hours: Phlebotomy can leave you on your feet for hours at a time. You also may need to walk many steps a day if you work in a busy hospital or have to go back and forth to a lab. If you’re someone with foot or leg problems, phlebotomy might not be the right choice for you.
- Stressful work environment: As you now know, there are many different places a phlebotomist can work. Unfortunately, the high-energy, exciting environment of a hospital can also be a drawback for some. If that excitement starts to wear off, it can lead to a stressful work environment. Most things in a hospital move at a fast pace, and you may not get time to slow down or have a break. Feeling stressed at work can lead you to resent the job quickly.
- Difficult patients: Working with different types of people can be a massive benefit for phlebotomists. But, it’s important to understand that not every patient will be pleasant to work with. Whether they’re just nervous or they seem cruel, it can be hard to deal with specific individuals. Remaining even-tempered is important. But, if you don’t want to wonder what type of people you’re going to be dealing with every day, phlebotomy may not be for you.
- Seeing difficult situations: Phlebotomists who work in emergency clinics or hospitals can be exposed to a lot of injuries and conditions. Trauma and severe injuries are common in places like these. Be prepared to see everything from gunshot wounds to victims of accidents. Keep in mind that some of your patients could be children in these situations, which can be hard for some people to see and stomach.
As you can see, there are many benefits to choosing a career in phlebotomy. What’s the best part? You can get started quickly! It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for a job right out of high school or you want to make a career change. You don’t need to spend a lot of time or money to become a great phlebotomist.
Once you complete your training, a lot of great opportunities can come your way. You’ll have many different options on where you can work, for starters. You can also decide if you want to stay in a phlebotomy career or use it as a stepping stone.
The most important thing to remember is that you’ll be helping a lot of people. There aren’t many entry-level jobs that provide as much direct support as phlebotomy. With so many benefits, it could be the perfect solution for anyone looking to jumpstart their career.
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