Certified Phlebotomy Technician: Job Info & Career Requirements

Learn what it takes to become a certified phlebotomy technician. Find out about education and certification requirements and employment outlook, as well as some alternative career options.

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Career Definition for a Certified Phlebotomy Technician

Certified phlebotomy technicians collect, label and transport blood specimens as directed by prescribing physicians or supervising medical professionals. They also record patient data and enter it into computer systems. Certified phlebotomy technicians may work in hospitals, labs, medical offices or blood donation organizations, typically working directly with patients in a fast-paced environment. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), certified phlebotomy technicians, like other clinical lab technologists and technicians, are more likely to find work in hospitals than doctors' offices or private labs.

Education Diploma or certificate; certification exam; state licensure sometimes required
Job Skills Attention to detail, computer and data entry proficiency, interpersonal communication skills, eye-hand coordination
Average Salary (2015)* $32,770
Job Outlook (2014-2024)* 25% growth

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

To become a phlebotomy technician, one must complete a 4-8 month training program, which may result in earning a certificate or diploma. To become certified, phlebotomy technicians sit for a certification exam from one of several professional organizations or associations. Additionally, a state license may be required by some states. Certified phlebotomy technicians study math, venipuncture, arterial puncture, blood collection procedures, OSHA and safety rules, computer skills and lab procedures. Classroom study and clinical practice are critical parts of a certified phlebotomy technician's education.

Skills Required

Certified phlebotomy technicians must have a strong attention to detail. They need computer and data entry skills, good communication skills, tactile skills and eye-hand coordination. Certified phlebotomy technicians also need the physical ability to sit, stand and bend.

Career and Economic Outlook

According to the BLS, career opportunities for phlebotomists are expected to increase by 25% between 2014 and 2024. The BLS reported an average annual wage of $32,770 for phlebotomists as of May 2015.

Alternative Career Options

The following are some other healthcare technician careers:

Biological Technician

Like phlebotomists, biological technicians work with blood samples, but instead of drawing the blood, a biological technician may test and analyze the blood sample. Unlike phlebotomists, biological technicians typically need a bachelor's degree, but their average pay is also higher, according to the BLS. In May 2015, the BLS reported that the average annual wage for biological technicians was $45,230. The BLS projects a 5% increase in biological technician jobs from 2014 to 2024.

Veterinary Technician

For those who are more interested in taking blood samples from animals than humans, a career as a veterinary technician may be a good option. Vet techs perform many functions in a veterinary office, including taking blood and urine samples from dogs, cats and other animals. Vet techs may also administer medication to animals and talk to pet owners about caring for their pets. Veterinary technicians typically need to complete a 2-year education program, and some states require these technicians to be certified, licensed or both. According to the BLS, veterinary technologists and technicians are expected to see much-faster-than-average job growth of 19% over the 2014-2024 decade. As of May 2015, veterinary technologists and technicians had an average annual salary of $33,280, per the BLS.

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