How to Become a Phlebotomist + Salary Expectations

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Phlebotomy is one of many subjects you have to study in nursing school – but there are also related career opportunities you can jump into after graduation. In this post, we’re diving into how to become a phlebotomist as your nursing career.

Compared to other nursing-related professions, being a professional phlebotomist is one of the quickest routes into the medical industry. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of phlebotomists is projected to grow ten percent from 2021 to 2031.

After going through the required training and certification, you can earn a considerable salary as a phlebotomist.

What Does a Phlebotomist Do?

A phlebotomist is a professional who specializes in drawing blood. They are trained to take blood from patients of any age and any medical condition, which means they’re the best people for the job when you need someone knowledgeable about how to handle blood safely.

They are responsible for taking blood samples from patients and storing them in tubes or vials for further testing. They also may be asked to administer medications by injection.

Phlebotomists may be employed by hospitals, clinics, or private practices, and they must be able to read charts and understand the needs of patients. They can also work in a laboratory to process the blood samples that doctors have collected. 

Phlebotomists are highly trained in applying tourniquets, using needles and tubes, and taking vials of blood into bottles. They must be able to perform all these tasks while maintaining a safe environment for both themselves and their patients.

It’s important to point out that there are differences between the roles of a phlebotomist and a phlebotomy technician. Phlebotomists draw patients’ blood. However, a phlebotomy technician helps them by sanitizing equipment and handling administrative work. 

Phlebotomist Salary (Average)

According to Indeed, a phlebotomist’s average base annual salary is $49,278/year. However, depending on where you work and your experience, your pay can range from $32,783-$74,074/year.

The top three highest-paying states for phlebotomists are:

  • Vermont: $88, 757/yr
  • Hawaii: $80,560/yr
  • New Hampshire: $71,259/yr

How Much Does a Phlebotomist Make an Hour?

According to our same source, the average hourly rate for phlebotomists is $18.95/hr. And again, this rate varies depending on where you work and your experience. With these factors, your pay can range from $12.61-$28.48/hr.

Considering a travel nurse career? Find out which states pay the most here.

How Long Does it Take to Become a Phlebotomist?

The timeframe from school graduation to full-blown phlebotomist will depend on your education and experience. This can take as little as six months (after graduating nursing school), to two-four years (after graduating high school or GED). You must take a phlebotomy training course, get a certification, and complete the right training to become a phlebotomist. 

If you skip nursing school, you have to make up time in other training courses and education. You may also have to work as an assistant phlebotomist or intern before moving up as a phlebotomist.

You can apply for an internship program at any hospital or clinic that offers phlebotomy services. Internships usually last one year and include on-the-job training with experienced technicians who can show you everything they know about collecting blood samples from patients. 

Education and Certification Requirements for Phlebotomists

College degrees aren’t required for employment, but they can help you get into a phlebotomist position more quickly. Either way, a high school diploma or GED and accredited training are required nationwide.

Completed Training

You must complete a NAACLS-accredited phlebotomy training program, which requires a high school graduation or GED. Phlebotomy training programs will vary school by school, and some might not offer one at all.

Primary Certification

After completing a NAACLS-accredited program, you may be qualified to take the Phlebotomy Technician (PBT) exam from The American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP). Passing this exam rewards you with a nationally-recognized certification, which is not required (but definitely gives you a leg up).

Secondary Certification

Phlebotomists must have a secondary license by passing a state-specific exam in these four states: 

  1. California
  2. Washington state
  3. Louisiana
  4. Nevada

All other states don’t require a state phlebotomist license, but some employers may ask for these certifications.

Pass Your Next Exams with Ease

As a nursing student, you can quickly become a phlebotomist with the right training. But before stepping into any specialized role, you have to pass your courses and exams.

With SimpleNursing, you’ll gain access to the most comprehensive study material built specifically for nursing students and postgraduates. Blood is just one of the few subjects we cover with custom quiz banks, study guides, videos with rationales, and much more.

Claim back more study time starting with a free trial today.