Phlebotomy Education Requirements and Career Information

Working as a phlebotomist requires little formal education. Learn about the training, job duties and certification to see if this is the right career for you.

Essential Information

Phlebotomists do blood work that is used in laboratory testing, blood transfusions and medical studies. They work at blood banks, hospitals, laboratories and neighborhood health centers. Although no education is mandatory to be employed as a phlebotomist, most hold an associate's degree in the field or have completed phlebotomy training as part of a bachelor's degree program in a health-related field, such as nursing. Certification is available through the National Phlebotomy Association and the American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians, and it is required to work in some states.

Required Education None mandatory; associate's and bachelor's programs in phlebotomy and related fields are available; on-the-job training is typical
Certification Required in some states
Projected Job Growth (2012-2022)* 27%
Median Salary (2013)* $30,150

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Requirements for Phlebotomists

Degree Programs

Most phlebotomists receive a combination of classroom training and on-the-job experience. Although a college degree is not required, many phlebotomists obtain an associate's degree. A bachelor's degree in medical technology is also an option for aspiring phlebotomists. Topics of instruction focus on venipuncture, vascular anatomy, vascular physiology, skin puncture techniques, safety procedures and proper handling of blood specimens.

Certification

Certification is required for phlebotomists in some states. Certifying bodies include the National Phlebotomy Association and the American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians. Guidelines for certification vary by organization but may call for a specified amount of work experience and membership in one of the certifying organizations. Certified phlebotomists are required to renew their certification, usually annually. Continuing education is a requirement for maintaining certification. Topics of study for continuing education can include blood contamination, venipuncture, patient injury, lawsuits and other related subjects.

Career Information

Phlebotomists, also called phlebotomy technicians, are specialized clinical laboratory technicians who collect blood samples (venipunctures) for use in diagnostic testing, blood transfusions and medical study. Phlebotomists work in hospitals, clinics, doctor's office laboratories, blood banks and health centers. Phlebotomists may also train and supervise other phlebotomy technicians and organize continuing education programs.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), phlebotomists working in general and surgical hospitals earned an average annual salary of $30,580 as of May 2013. Phlebotomists working in laboratories in doctors' offices earned an average of $31,120 a year. According to the BLS, the highest paying states for phlebotomy were Alaska, California and Delaware, as of 2013. Employment is predicted to grow 27% between 2012 and 2022, according to the BLS.

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