Certified Phlebotomy Technician: Career Profile, Job Outlook, and Training Requirements

Research what it takes to become a certified phlebotomy technician. Learn about education, certification requirements, salary and job outlook to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Clinical Laboratory Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What is a Certified Phlebotomy Technician?

As a certified phlebotomy technician, you'd obtain specimens of patients' blood for laboratory analysis or for use by a blood bank, hospital or research facility. When drawing blood, you may often need to talk with patients or donors to calm their nerves. After blood is drawn, you'll need to label the blood sample accurately. If a patient has an adverse reaction to the blood draw, you'll need to be ready to help and treat them. Sometimes you will be tasked with entering patient information into a database. Another responsibility you would have is the maintenance, storage and disposal of equipment like needles and blood vials. The following chart provides an overview about becoming a certified phlebotomy technician.

Education Required Certificate or diploma
Certification As of 2017, four states require phlebotomists to be certified; most employers prefer phlebotomists who have obtained professional certification
Key Responsibilities Collect blood samples from veins; label samples accurately; maintain and assemble blood-drawing equipment
Job Growth (2014-2024) 25% (for phlebotomists)*
Median Salary (2015) $31,630 (for phlebotomists)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

What Will I Do as a Certified Phlebotomy Technician?

Certified phlebotomy technicians collect blood samples from patients for testing or for blood donations. As a phlebotomy technician, you'll draw blood from veins safely while avoiding unnecessary or accidental needle sticks. Other key responsibilities will be to record patient information, verify patient identity and properly label vials of blood.

What's the Job Outlook?

Most phlebotomy technicians work in hospitals, physicians' offices or laboratories. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job opportunities for phlebotomists are expected to grow by 25% from 2014-2024.

The BLS states that phlebotomists earned a median salary of $31,630 as of May 2015. The industries with the highest employment levels for phlebotomists included general medical and surgical hospitals and medical and diagnostic labs. The top-paying employers for phlebotomists were pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturers, offering an average of $48,760, and drugs and druggists' sundries merchant wholesalers, which paid $44,060 on average in 2015, per the BLS.

What Type of Education Do I Need?

You'll need at least a certificate or diploma to work as a certified phlebotomy technician. Certificate and diploma programs are available at technical or vocational schools and at hospitals. In these programs, you'll learn about topics such as coagulation, clinical chemistry, phlebotomy, hematology, body fluids and basic laboratory skills.

How Do I Get Certification?

If you want to obtain certification to improve your training and career opportunities, you may want to consider the National Phlebotomy Association's Certification (NPA) Examination (www.nationalphlebotomy.org). The NPA has certified more than 15,000 people as certified phlebotomists nationwide as of 2014. Though certification is officially required in only three states, most employers throughout the country prefer to hire certified phlebotomists.

Another option is the American Society for Clinical Pathologists (ASCP) Board of Certification, which accredits phlebotomy technicians (www.ascp.org). The ASCP offers various ways you can be eligible for certification.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

There are a number of related healthcare professionals who do one or a few of the same tasks as phlebotomy technicians. Dental assistants, medical assistants and medical transcriptionists all have to enter in patient information into secure databases and keep track of records. Medical laboratory technicians sometimes have to collect blood samples prior to performing tests to analyze them. Veterinary assistants and veterinary technicians are often tasked with drawing blood samples form animals for veterinarians to analyze. Education requirements for these careers range from a certificate or diploma for dental and medical assistants to an associate's or bachelor's degree for medical laboratory technicians.

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