Best Phlebotomy Career Opportunities in the US
Phlebotomy offers a stable career with plenty of job opportunities in a variety of healthcare environments. As the population ages, there’s certainly no shortage in demand for skilled phlebotomists to assist other allied health professionals and medical staff.
Which state offers the best career opportunities and salaries? We’ve researched the facts and figures to find the best phlebotomy opportunities in the United States
What Is Phlebotomy?
Phlebotomy is the act of drawing blood from patients or blood donors, and then preparing the samples for the lab. These samples may be collected for tests, donations, research, or transfusions.
The process is carried out by a fully-trained phlebotomy technician. Phlebotomy technicians are an essential part of any medical team, and can be found in hospitals, private clinics, science labs, and research labs.
What Does a Phlebotomy Technician Do?
Phlebotomy is so much more than just drawing blood. In fact, it’s more diverse than you may first think. The main responsibilities of this particular allied healthcare job include:
- Preparing equipment
- Deciding the best method to draw a patient’s blood
- Collecting blood samples from patients and donors
- Properly labeling samples with vital information
- Transporting/sending samples to the appropriate laboratory
- Practicing health and safety standards at all times
A huge part of a phlebotomist's responsibility is to ensure that the blood drawing process is as pleasant as possible. Having a calming nature and a steady hand are necessary for the job.
To find out more about what the life of a phlebotomist entails, check out the phlebotomy occupational guide.
How Do I Become a Phlebotomist?
To enroll in a phlebotomy training program, you should have a high school diploma (or its equivalent). After completing a phlebotomy education or training program, you can then choose to become a certified phlebotomy technician (CPT).
Depending on the program or school, you could graduate in as little as one month. Programs typically cover – but are not limited to – the following areas:
- Medical Terminology
- Quality Control
- Infection Control and Safety
- Blood Collection
- Dermal / Capillary Puncture
It’s wise to choose a training program that provides hands-on training in a real clinical environment, as this will better prepare you for your future job.
Depending on the state or the employer, phlebotomy tech certification may be mandatory. For example, it’s a must in California, Nevada, and Louisiana. However, even if your state doesn’t require certification, it’s highly recommended, as the majority of employers request it.
Certifications are available from a number of organizations including the National Healthcareer Association (NHA), National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT), and the American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians (ASPT).
How Long Is Phlebotomy Training?
There are many training options available, from short-term training programs (such as 1 month certificate programs) to year-long phlebotomy courses.
Some employers and your certifying organization may require continuing certification, which means ‘renewing’ your certification each year. This process ensures that phlebotomists maintain the highest of standards.
While it is a commitment to ongoing education, this additional work typically results in better job opportunities and higher salaries. What’s more, phlebotomy is often used as a stepping stone towards other healthcare careers, such as medical assistants, surgical techs, or cardiovascular technologists.
Phlebotomy Technician Program
National Career Outlook for Phlebotomists
According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook for Phlebotomy at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job market for phlebotomy is expected to grow by 25% between now and 2026. This will have an enormous impact on medical and clinical facilities, which will continue to need phlebotomy technicians to perform blood work.
The low cost of education – as well as the possibility of excellent entry-level opportunities – are just a few reasons to pursue a career in phlebotomy.
Which Region Has the Best Career Opportunities for Phlebotomists?
Like most professions, opportunities and salaries can differ greatly between states, regions, and cities. According to BLS, the national average salary for a certified phlebotomist is $32,710 per year, which works out to be just under $16 per hour. Some techs can rake in over $40,000, too.
Once you’ve finished your phlebotomy education, where should you begin your career?
Phlebotomy Job Opportunities in the Northeast
While New Jersey doesn’t have any specific legal requirements to become a phlebotomist, finding employment might be difficult without it. The Garden State is one of the most densely-populated states, and job competition in crowded areas can be fierce.
The metropolitan areas of New Jersey and New York have the highest level of employment for phlebotomists in the country. Therefore, completing your phlebotomy certification in New Jersey or New York might help get you ahead of the competition.
Massachusetts is also in the top 10 metropolitan areas with the highest phlebotomy employment (especially in the Boston area). While The Bay State doesn’t yet require phlebotomists to be certified, this will certainly help to prove your skills and beat out the competition.
Salary Prospects in the Northeast
A certified phlebotomy technician in New Jersey can expect an average salary of $37,430. New York phlebotomists can expect to earn a little more with just under $38,000. The region’s highest average salaries come from Rhode Island, with over $39,160, trailed closely by Connecticut at $39,110.
Phlebotomy Jobs in the South
‘The South’ covers a huge, diverse area. Job opportunities and salaries fluctuate enormously between states due to many factors such as population, supply and demand, and cost of living.
Phlebotomy Job Prospects
West Virginia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Kentucky have the highest concentration of phlebotomy jobs in non-metropolitan areas.
If city living is more your scene, then Houston, Texas may be a good destination. Not only does it rank high on job concentration, but it offers an average salary of $33,350 compared to the state’s average of $31,480.
What Salary Can a Phlebotomist Expect in The South?
If salary is the most important factor for choosing your location, the southern states may not be your best bet. All the state averages in this region, except for Virginia, fall below the national average wage. The lowest average wage in the region is found in Arkansas, with $27,910.
In Virginia, trained phlebotomy technicians in the Mother of States can usually take home around $33,160.
Job Prospects for Phlebotomists in the Deep South
Georgia, known as the Empire of the South for its industrial past, was hit hard by the recent economic crisis. However, it’s been picking up steam, experiencing a 2.7% job growth in recent years. The Atlanta area has the 5th highest employment level for a metropolitan area.
With its rich and diverse culture (not to mention amazing food) Louisiana offers something for everyone. Incredibly, nearly 10% of all those employed within the state are in healthcare.
What Income Levels Can You Expect in the Deep South?
All four states of the Deep South land below the $32,710 national average salary for phlebotomists.
Mississippi is the lowest in the region with $27,960, though it ranks as the most affordable state in the country.
Alabama and Louisiana phlebotomy techs fare slightly better with $28,780 and $28,960 annual salaries, respectively.
Phlebotomy Jobs in the Midwest
The Midwest region performs well on employment levels, with Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Wisconsin all in the top ten states for jobs. When it comes to the highest phlebotomy employment rates for the region, northeastern areas of Ohio, west-central Illinois, and the lower peninsula of Michigan are among the top 5 nonmetropolitan areas.
What Salary Can I Expect in the Midwest?
The Midwest is one of the cheapest regions to live in the states. For instance, Missouri has the sixth-lowest cost of living in the United States, which means your buck can go a little further.
North Dakota has recently experienced a job and population boom. While the state’s average salary is rather low at $28,600, healthcare support workers can find average salaries of $34,640 (especially in nonmetropolitan areas). South Dakota, on the other hand, has the lowest average salary in the country for pharmacy techs.
Wisconsin is the state for you if you enjoy the outdoors, mild summer temperatures, and cheese. “America’s Dairyland,” offers the 2nd-highest average salaries in the region for phlebotomy techs, with just over $34,000. Illinois tops the list with a substantial annual earning of $35,490.