Phlebotomy Technician taking blood from a patient

How to Become a Phlebotomy Technician

Duties, Responsibilities, Schooling, Requirements, Certifications, Job Outlook, and Salary

Phlebotomy Technician taking blood from a patient

As a Medical Assistant, you can pursue a variety of healthcare careers with the knowledge and skills you gained throughout your education and training. One of the most accessible alternative jobs you can apply for as an MA is a phlebotomy technician. Becoming a phlebotomy technician can be a rewarding career option for medical assistants looking to advance their current careers, gain experience in the world of healthcare, and provide a steady income for themselves and their families.

Continue reading this career guide for an in-depth look at the skills involved in being a phlebotomy technician, along with the educational requirements, salary, and job outlook for this vital role.

Not sure if becoming a phlebotomy technician is right for you? Click here to see the rest of the careers featured on our list of top alternative jobs for medical assistants.

Phlebotomy Technician Definition

What is a Phlebotomy Technician?

Phlebotomy technicians are responsible for drawing blood from patients for donations, lab tests, and other sample issues. These blood samples are carefully and professionally drawn, saved, and then sent to laboratories where they are microscopically examined in order to help diagnose health issues and illnesses.

The list of conditions determined and assessed by blood tests is very long, which is why nearly every diagnostician across the world of healthcare relies on the work of phlebotomy technicians. At the same time, patients count on their skills to keep them comfortable, relatively pain-free, and prevent the need to make multiple attempts at successful blood draws.

Phlebotomy Technician: Job Description

What Does a Phlebotomy Technicians Do?

Phlebotomy technicians use a gentle hand and a caring demeanor to make patients feel comfortable and at ease as they inject them with needles and draw blood. Some patients have a hard time with needles, some react poorly to the short jab of pain, and some can be nervous about the whole process and their reasons for being there in the first place. For all of these reasons, phlebotomy technicians are relied on to be gentle, understanding, and empathetic every time they meet with a patient and draw blood from their veins.

Phlebotomy Technician Duties

Some of the day-to-day responsibilities of phlebotomy technicians include:

  • Drawing blood from patients and blood donors
  • Talking with patients and donors to help them feel less nervous about having their blood drawn
  • Verifying a patient’s or donor’s identity
  • Labeling the drawn blood for testing or processing
  • Entering patient information into a database
  • Assembling and maintaining medical instruments such as needles, test tubes, and blood vials
  • Keeping work areas clean and sanitary

Where Do Phlebotomy Technicians Work?

Phlebotomy Technicians work primarily in doctors’ offices, hospitals, medical and diagnostic labs, and blood centers. Some Phlebotomy Technicians will also occasionally travel to patients’ homes on behalf of doctors and care centers, helping at-home patients stay comfortable and preventing the need for them to travel. Phlebotomy technicians can also find employment in long-term care centers and any other healthcare settings where blood is drawn.

Healthcare worker holding vials of blood

Why is Phlebotomy Technician a Great Alternative Career Path for Medical Assistants?

Becoming a phlebotomy technician is a great career option for medical assistants looking to take their careers to another level. With short training programs and exposure to a wide variety of other healthcare roles, becoming a Phlebotomy Technician is an excellent option for many nurses. Plus, Medical Assistants have already received basic phlebotomy through their MA diploma program.

Aside from being in high and constant demand, phlebotomy technicians play a vital role in the overall healthcare system, which, for many, can provide a great deal of pride and job satisfaction. Yet, their job atmosphere tends to be significantly lower in pressure despite their vital role than for many other nursing professionals. Additionally, the opportunity of working directly with patients and providing a friendly, comfortable interaction also proves attractive to many candidates.

Phlebotomy Technician Schooling & Certification

How Long Does It Take to Become a Phlebotomy Technician?

What Degree Do You Need to Be a Phlebotomy Technician?

Although basic phlebotomy is almost always a part of medical assistant training, some employers require additional certification for these jobs. The process of becoming a phlebotomy technician can take anywhere from 8 weeks to a year, depending on the program. A high school diploma or GED is required, along with a minimum GPA.

While there is no single nationally recognized program or exam to become a phlebotomy technician, candidates may need to pass background checks, provide immunization records, and undergo CPR training. Several states have separate certification requirements for phlebotomy technicians, which may add to the overall time commitment.

National certification as a phlebotomy technician requires candidates to pass the Phlebotomy Technician Certification exam, provided by The National Healthcareer Association (NHA). Though national certification is not required, it can be helpful in finding employment.

Phlebotomy Technician Salary

How Much Do Phlebotomy Technicians Make?

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for phlebotomists is about $37,000, which works out to about $18 per hour. Phlebotomy Technician salaries in the 90th percentile can reach as high as $50,000 or more.

Highest Paying Industries for Phlebotomy Technicians

According to the BLS, these industries are where you’re most likely to find the top-paying jobs for phlebotomy technicians:

Industry Average Hourly Pay Average Salary
Outpatient Care Centers $21.11 $43,920
Medical & Diagnostic Laboratories $18.74 $38,970
Physicians’ Offices $17.54 $36,490
General Hospitals $17.43 $36,240
Other Ambulatory Health Care Services $17.22 $35,820

Highest Paying States for Phlebotomy Technicians

According to the BLS, phlebotomy technicians earn the highest average wages in these states:

State Average Hourly Pay Average Salary
California $22.71 $47,230
New York $21.46 $44,630
Washington, DC. $21.13 $43,960
Alaska $20.80 $43,270
Washington $20.45 $42,530

Highest Paying Cities for Phlebotomy Technicians

According to the BLS, phlebotomy technicians earn the highest average annual wage in these cities:

City Average Hourly Pay Average Salary
Redding, CA $25.37 $52,770
San Diego, CA $24.96 $51,920
Santa Rosa, CA $24.82 $51,620
Santa Cruz, CA $24.56 $51,070
San Jose, CA $24.38 $50,710
Vallejo, CA $24.35 $50,650
Santa Barbara, CA $24.32 $50,580
San Francisco, CA $24.16 $50,250
Hanford, CA $23.27 $48,400
Stockton, CA $23.21 $48,270

Phlebotomy Technician Job Outlook

What is the Job Outlook for Phlebotomy Technicians?

The BLS estimates that the overall employment of phlebotomy technicians will grow 17% by 2029, which is much higher than the average growth rate across all other jobs during the same time period (4%). Hospitals, diagnostic laboratories, blood donor centers, and other locations will need more phlebotomists to perform bloodwork as the population continues to grow.

Woman on her laptop outside

Start Your Career by Earning Your Medical Assistant Diploma

If you’re the individual who seeks a rewarding career in healthcare, who enjoys working directly with patients, and looking for a role with a high degree of demand, becoming a phlebotomy technician could be a great career path for you.

If you’re ready to take the next step towards becoming a phlebotomy technician, start by earning your Medical Assistant diploma in as little as 10 months at Eagle Gate College.

Click here to learn more about our Medical Assistant program.