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Phlebotomist Salary Guide

Apr 08, 2010

What the heck is a phlebotomist? It’s a person who takes your blood. Back in the day a doctor or nurse used to complete this task, but as hospitals and other health care centers needed to find ways to save money and improve care the phlebotomist was born. Now a doctor or nurse is responsible for ordering the types of blood tests needed, and the phlebotomist makes rounds to collect samples and deliver them to the lab.

Being a phlebotomist can be fun and challenging, and by taking blood you are helping people stay healthy. As a phlebotomist you can work in many different types of places: hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, laboratories, and even travel by car to perform at-home services. You get to work with the public and help increase their standard of care, which can be very rewarding. But the one thing you really want to know is – how much does it pay?

The answer depends on a few factors. Factor one is how much training you have before you apply for your first phlebotomy job. If you have zero experience and your employer is willing to train you, then that saves you significant education costs as well as the time needed to complete a two- or four-year program, but this also means you can’t expect to get paid much more than the bare minimum in the meantime. However, if you complete a two-year associate’s degree you can expect to earn an average of $27,040 per year.

Those who do complete the two-year program can also work as clinical laboratory technicians in a variety of fields, including phlebotomy. The average salary for a clinical laboratory technician in 2008 was $35,380. This may be a better choice, as it gives you more job options, as well as the potential to earn more.

If you are willing to complete a four-year program then you would be considered a clinical laboratory technologist, and you will likely have chose some type of phlebotomy specialization, such as geriatrics or pediatrics, which means you are more employable and thus can command a higher salary. In 2008, the average salary for a clinical laboratory technologist was $53,500, so it can definitely be worthwhile to take on the extra two years of schooling. However, this depends entirely on the person, as some may not be willing to undertake the expense of a four-year program.

The second factor determining how much you can make as a phlebotomist is where you choose to work. Large hospitals are the primary employer of phlebotomists, and they tend to offer fair wages and good benefits. However, you may want to choose to work in a smaller clinic or as a contracted worker, in which case you may get paid less but have more autonomy on the job. The choice depends on what kind of environment you prefer to work in, and whether you are comfortable working nights in the case of hospitals and large care centers. If you have a background in bookkeeping or administration then you may be able to fill two or more roles in a small clinic environment, and thus make more money.

Ultimately you have to find a good balance between the work and pay. Phlebotomists get to help people every day, and can assist a patient in overcoming their fear of giving blood. With the amount of growth that the health care industry is expected to experience in the next few years, now is a good time to consider a career in phlebotomy or as a clinical laboratory technician or technologist. In just two years you could be ready for a fantastic, rewarding career.

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