Phlebotomist Job Description & Employment Outlook
There are individuals that likely wish to work in healthcare that may not have the ability or the time to commit to a four-year college degree program and then attend several years of medical school. Seeking a career as a phlebotomist offers the opportunity for people to have a rewarding career without spending many years in school, and without the high costs that are often associated with completing a university degree and a medical school degree.
There is an excellent job outlook for phlebotomists over the next several years. This offers another reason for students to complete a phlebotomy program.
The phlebotomy job description is one that demonstrates the variety of duties, the importance of the career choice, and the importance of completing a phlebotomy education program.
What Does a Phlebotomist Do? What Are Some Job Duties?
Some people may assume that work responsibilities for phlebotomists are limited in nature. The truth is that there are many responsibilities in the job description of a phlebotomist. Those duties typically include:
- Greeting patients and helping them become less nervous about their blood being drawn
- Assembling the necessary equipment for procedures
- Drawing blood from patients and blood donors
- Verifying each patient's or donor's identity and medical records to ensure the correct labeling of the blood
- Labeling blood draw vials for processing or testing
- Entering patient information into a database
There are other responsibilities that phlebotomists may be tasked with on a regular basis. Assembling and managing the inventory of supplies and medical instruments, including blood vials and needles, is one example. They also keep their work areas clean and sanitary by disinfecting the areas that are designated for blood collection.
The duties and the scope of practice may be limited to the phlebotomist's specific certification and the requirements of each state. For example, the California Department of Public Health explains that there are three levels of phlebotomy certification in the state. The Limited Phlebotomy Technician is authorized to only do skin puncture blood collection. The Certified Phlebotomy Technician I is authorized to perform both skin puncture and venous puncture collection. This may vary, based on the number of hours of on-the-job training. The Certified Phlebotomy Technician II is authorized to do skin puncture and venipuncture, along with arterial puncture blood collection.
Check with the school that you plan to attend or the state department of public health to determine the scope of practice for phlebotomists in the area where you intend to work.
Where Does a Phlebotomist Work?
Phlebotomists work in a variety of settings where they can collect blood specimens. The work setting may depend upon their level of certification, and the state where the phlebotomist works.
Some settings where phlebotomists are employed include:
- Physician's offices
- Clinics and other outpatient care facilities
- Diagnostic and medical laboratories
- Local, state, or private hospitals
- Long-term care facilities
Phlebotomists may also work in other types of ambulatory healthcare service locations, such as blood banks, mobile donation centers, testing facilities, correctional facilities, and other locations.
Completing additional certification beyond the school training program, such as passing a national examination, will increase the career opportunities that are available to phlebotomists. Many school programs, such as the phlebotomist diploma program at the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC), prepare graduates to sit for the national exams.
Learn more about how to craft the perfect phlebotomy resume.
Phlebotomy Job Outlook
The projected job outlook for a particular career field is often important to prospective students, and for individuals that are considering a career change. The job outlook for the field of phlebotomy offers excellent potential for people looking to enter the field. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is one source of information that demonstrates that phlebotomists will experience growth in the number of available jobs available to phlebotomists.
Although the job growth may vary somewhat in different regions or states, the job growth and pay for phlebotomists is often higher than that of similar allied healthcare positions.
Highest Employment Regions for Phlebotomists
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates a "much faster than average" job growth rate for phlebotomists through at least the year 2029. The job growth for phlebotomists is expected to be 17 percent, with an additional 22,800 jobs expected to be added over the next few years.
The job growth rate may vary in some regions or states across the U.S., along with the number of employed phlebotomists in specific regions or states. The Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics provides data for phlebotomists, with the most recent statistics supplied as of May 2020.
The five states with the highest employment level of phlebotomists include:
The data shows that there are 12,590 phlebotomists in California, 11,260 in Texas, and 7,270 in Florida. The State of Pennsylvania has 6,120 phlebotomists, and there are 5,920 phlebotomists in Ohio.
It may be surprising to learn that the data shows that the five states with the highest concentration of jobs and location quotients of phlebotomists are different than the five states with the highest employment levels. The states with the highest concentration of jobs and location quotients of phlebotomists are Rhode Island, West Virginia, New Jersey, Louisiana, and Kentucky.
The employment levels of phlebotomists may be further broken down into metropolitan regions with the highest employment levels of phlebotomists. Those top five areas include:
- New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA
- Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim CA
- Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD
- Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX
What the information shows is that there is a significant number of phlebotomists employed in various regions and that the highest levels of individuals employed in phlebotomy seem to be spread across the country and various metropolitan areas.
Phlebotomist vs. Other Allied Healthcare Professions
Several allied healthcare occupations are seeing job growth. That does not necessarily mean that the job growth or employment rates are better or higher than that of the phlebotomist job growth. For example:
- Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) – The BLS lists the expected job growth for nursing assistants and orderlies at eight percent. While this is still considered "much faster than average" by the BLS, it is considerably less than the 17 percent phlebotomist job growth.
- Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), or Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) as they are referred to in California and Texas, has an expected nine percent job growth.
- Clinical Laboratory Technologist and Technician, who may be referred to as the Medical Laboratory Technician, has an anticipated seven percent job growth, which the BLS considers "faster than average."
- Medical Assistant (MA) – The job growth rate for this career is expected to be at 19 percent through 2029. This is just two percent above the job growth rate for phlebotomists. It is the only similar healthcare profession with a job growth rate close to that of a phlebotomist.