Phlebotomy is a job that involves sticking people in the blood veins and withdrawing their blood.
It is a squeamish position to be in, and not for those who faint when seeing the red stuff.
Dealing with plasma and medical records, and reading doctor scripts is also at the helm of this entry-level medical job.
At the same time, it pays well and can be satisfying for those interested in working in a doctor’s office, hospital, or medical clinic.
Before starting any training program, take into account the pros and cons of whether training as a phlebotomist is the right career choice for you.
Article Table of Contents
- 1 Pros of Being a Phlebotomist
- 1.1 A Career in Phlebotomy Pays Well
- 1.2 You Get to Work in the Medical Industry
- 1.3 It Takes Less Than One Year
- 1.4 Some Online Programs to Get a Phlebotomy Certificate Claim to be Free
- 1.5 Phlebotomy is a Highly Sophisticated Profession
- 1.6 Phlebotomists are Not Bottom-of-the-Barrel
- 1.7 The Field of Phlebotomy is Climbing at a Faster Rate Than Other Careers
- 2 Cons of Being a Phlebotomist
- 2.1 Certification and Training is Required in Most Cases in Order to be Hired as a Phlebotomist
- 2.2 Your Health is a Factor
- 2.3 You Must be Ready to See Blood
- 2.4 Medical Record Keeping is Another Major Part of a Phlebotomist’s Job
- 2.5 Phlebotomists Must Walk and Stand for the Majority of a Work Day
- 2.6 Hand-Eye Coordination is a Requirement for a Phlebotomist
- 2.7 Compassion is Important for Phlebotomists Who Deal With Patients Who Are Squeamish
- 3 Should You Become a Phlebotomist?
- 4 Pros and Cons of Being a Phlebotomist – Summary Table
Pros of Being a Phlebotomist
A Career in Phlebotomy Pays Well
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual pay for phlebotomists is $36,320 or $17.46 an hour.
You can make more or less than this, but on average, this is the salary or income for a phlebotomist in the US as of 2020.
Does this work for a household income?
The poverty guideline for a family of four is $26,500 from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation.
That means you will be able to comfortably take care of a family of four as the head of household with this income.
That being said, you can always try to increase your salary to earn more, it’s definitely doable!
You Get to Work in the Medical Industry
For a lot of students, phlebotomy is an entry-level position in this field and will progress into a more advanced level career, such as in nursing.
You need to know how to draw blood and do IVs for patients in nursing, so this only makes sense as a “gateway job” in the medical industry.
Students who struggle to get into a graduate program for medical school can get a certificate in phlebotomy in between application rounds.
Adding “phlebotomist” to your application may increase their potential for getting accepted into a medical school program.
This is also a great chance to add a phlebotomist certificate to an existing First Aid/CPR training.
It Takes Less Than One Year
The time it takes to become a phlebotomist is less than one year, which is far shorter than becoming a medical doctor or even a nurse.
School programs for phlebotomy are provided by vocational and technical schools, as well as community colleges in most cities in the US.
There are even online certificate programs for phlebotomy students.
That is correct, you can train and get certified as a phlebotomist without having to step a foot inside of a classroom or hospital.
In other words, there are so many training opportunities that it is hard not to become a phlebotomist this year.
Some Online Programs to Get a Phlebotomy Certificate Claim to be Free
If available, free courses are a great way to introduce students to phlebotomy.
These save students time studying the subject.
You could use this as a refresher course in phlebotomy if you were certified decades ago and want to reenter the field.
Online phlebotomy courses also offer entry-level medical students a way to train in this subject while in another school.
You can learn phlebotomy in the summer between freshman and sophomore years of college as a way to increase your potential in the workforce.
Phlebotomy is a Highly Sophisticated Profession
If you are interested in being associated with a professional career that has great strength in the medical community, phlebotomy is a great way to go.
There are many organizations that are helping phlebotomists maintain their skills and networking connections, such as the National Phlebotomy Association and the American Society for Clinical Pathology.
You can expect to take pride in saying, “I, too, am a phlebotomist.”
This also helps you professionally, as there are associations supporting the industry.
You can turn to these organizations and associations to help you find jobs, meet new colleagues, and learn about the latest technology in phlebotomy.
Phlebotomists are Not Bottom-of-the-Barrel
As a phlebotomist, you could end up working for one of the previously mentioned associations, for example.
At the very least, these organizations have extensive resources for training and professional growth in the field of phlebotomy.
Phlebotomy is not one of those bottom-of-the-barrel careers that are going nowhere fast.
Quite the contrary, anyone in the medical field could benefit from working as a phlebotomist.
This includes dental assistants, veterinary technicians, and clinical laboratory technologists.
When you become a phlebotomist, this opens more doors for you career-wise.
The Field of Phlebotomy is Climbing at a Faster Rate Than Other Careers
In fact, the Occupational Outlook Handbook reports job outlook for phlebotomists is 22 percent, which is much faster than average.
Compare this to registered nurses, which has a growth rate of only nine percent faster than average.
Phlebotomy jobs have a projected outlook of 14 percent faster than registered nursing jobs through 2030.
Furthermore, there is a need for 28,800 newly certified phlebotomists from 2020 to 2030.
As a result, the industry is more likely to offer better pay rates and benefits for entry-level phlebotomists searching for a job.
Cons of Being a Phlebotomist
Certification and Training is Required in Most Cases in Order to be Hired as a Phlebotomist
The US BLS states “almost all employers look for phlebotomists who have earned professional certification.”
Certain places, including Washington, Nevada, California, and Louisiana, mandate certification in order to be hired as a phlebotomist.
The typical educational pathway includes a certificate or diploma from a semester-long or quarter-long training program.
While this does not take long, you must be able to pass the training program in order to get hired as a phlebotomist.
Your Health is a Factor
You must pass a Hepatitis B test and get a vaccine for this, and also pass a tuberculosis test, drug test, and physical exam in order to take training at the American Red Cross in phlebotomy.
While this is not a mandatory requirement for all training programs, expect to have similar requirements since you are involved with patients and drawing their blood with needles.
Health organizations you work for will, like the American Red Cross, require you to pass these health tests, too.
You Must be Ready to See Blood
Literally, what a phlebotomist does all day is insert needles into body parts and withdraw blood.
Sometimes the process is not easy.
The patient may be geriatric, a baby, pregnant, or otherwise have medical conditions that make drawing blood a problem for all involved.
Since this is the sole part of your career, you must be mentally ready to handle such a job.
Otherwise, you risk burnout, unless you think about using phlebotomy training as a jump into a similar medical career.
Medical Record Keeping is Another Major Part of a Phlebotomist’s Job
A phlebotomist spends a great portion of their working days managing paperwork for patients and blood samples.
Understanding medical insurance, along with completing medical and electronic records, while using medical terminology and shorthand takes time to learn.
If you are not someone who loves doing paperwork and documenting information in a form of code, then medical record keeping is going to be a serious drag.
Phlebotomists Must Walk and Stand for the Majority of a Work Day
This typically is the time frame of a medical lab, which can be open 24 hours a day if in a hospital wing.
While shifts vary from 9 to 5 at medical labs, hospital labs and phlebotomists may work longer hours each shift.
Either way, this is a position that requires a lot of time on your feet, which is something to consider if you prefer to be more sedentary or have trouble walking.
Hand-Eye Coordination is a Requirement for a Phlebotomist
Otherwise, a phlebotomist who cannot draw blood on the first attempt will find themselves dealing with an unruly and potentially aggressive patient.
Sports vision training is one way to strengthen hand-eye coordination, but for most people, not being able to draw blood as a phlebotomist due to a lack of coordination is a career flop.
Unfortunately, you are most likely not going to know if you are horrible or wonderful at drawing blood until you reach the intern stage of your training.
This can prove problematic, especially if you pursue a career as a phlebotomist with poor hand-eye coordination.
Compassion is Important for Phlebotomists Who Deal With Patients Who Are Squeamish
The bottom line here is that phlebotomists who are not extroverted or happy working with people are going to have a difficult day at work dealing with patients.
Of course, there is the off-chance that you could work in a lab that only tests blood, but for the majority of phlebotomists, the job entails taking blood out of bodies that are still breathing.
Should You Become a Phlebotomist?
The job of a phlebotomist is rewarding for those who want to help patients who need to have their blood drawn.
This is both frustrating at times, but also exciting and always different for each patient.
You are never bored, in other words, when working as a phlebotomist and the pay is good.
Plus, they need more phlebotomists than ever before, and now is a great time to be certified in phlebotomy.
Pros and Cons of Being a Phlebotomist – Summary Table
|Pros of Being a Phlebotomist||Cons of Being a Phlebotomist|
|A Career in Phlebotomy Pays Well||Certification and Training is Required in Most Cases in Order to be Hired as a Phlebotomist|
|You Get to Work in the Medical Industry||Your Health is a Factor|
|It Takes Less Than One Year||You Must be Ready to See Blood|
|Some Online Programs to Get a Phlebotomy Certificate Claim to be Free||Medical Record Keeping is Another Major Part of a Phlebotomist’s Job|
|Phlebotomy is a Highly Sophisticated Profession||Phlebotomists Must Walk and Stand for the Majority of a Work Day|
|Phlebotomists are Not Bottom-of-the-Barrel||Hand-Eye Coordination is a Requirement for a Phlebotomist|
|The Field of Phlebotomy is Climbing at a Faster Rate Than Other Careers||Compassion is Important for Phlebotomists Who Deal With Patients Who are Squeamish|
Read the full guide: How to Become a Phlebotomist