Phlebotomists fall into the Conventional Theme Code Category of the Strong Interest Inventory®. The Strong Interest Inventory® has been revised and refined since it was first released in 1927, and is widely recognized as an effective tool for using individuals’ interests to help them find a fulfilling career. It categorizes careers into six Theme Code categories, based on the interests and preferences of individuals who are seeking employment. Additionally, it compares those persons’ interests with corresponding individuals’ interests and preferences already established in specific occupations. The assessment component analyzes individuals’ personal characteristics to identify the theme codes and therefore the careers which they might find enjoyable. The Conventional Theme Code Category centers on accounting and processing data, and includes careers which involve highly structured tasks and highly structured work environments.
Phlebotomists’ primary responsibility is to collect fluid and tissue samples from patients using appropriate and approved collection procedures. Most commonly these substances are blood and urine, but can include others as well. They do this by using vacuum tubes, syringes, or other more invasive techniques. They also monitor and observe patients before, during, and after the collection process to ensure their continued well-being. Organization and cleanliness are critical in this career. Samples must be collected at regular intervals and contaminated materials need to be disposed of in accordance with local and federal laws and standards. All collection materials as well as medical trays and surfaces must be kept spotless to avoid transmission of microorganisms. Phlebotomists must also keep track of specimens, match them with laboratory paperwork, and update billing records or complete associated paperwork.
Phlebotomists may also need to conduct certain analyses on the samples themselves or explain the results of such analyses to the patients. These tests may include blood cultures, blood alcohol level, glucose levels, hemoglobin and iron tests, or other drug tests. They also tend to be the first point of contact for patients, often providing them with injections or refreshments to deliver medication to ensure that they can be properly absorbed into the blood stream or bodily tissues.
A wide range of tools and technologies are needed to complete daily tasks. These include tissue and fluid sampling tools (e.g., needles, syringes, lancets, blood-drawing chairs or accessories, vacuum pumps), sample storage containers (e.g., refrigerators, phlebotomy trays and tube holders), and sample analyzers (e.g., urinalysis analyzers, centrifuges, glucose monitors, etc.). Comfort working with major office tools, including fax machines, printers, copiers, computers, smartphones, tablets, and other standard office materials is necessary. Medical software is also widely used, including MEDITECH BloodBank, MEDITECH Laboratory and Microbiology, and other Laboratory Information Systems (LIS) software.
Phlebotomists require a basic foundation in medicine, including chemistry and biology, as well as an interest in customer service and clerical responsibilities. They also need to be able to give their full attention to their patients so that they can meet their needs and identify any problems or red flags as early as possible. Professional proficiency in English is a great asset, as is professional-level bilingualism in highly demanded languages. Most phlebotomists hold a post-secondary certificate, and just over 33% hold a high school diploma or equivalent. Most training is done on-the-job, however, and experience is invaluable.
The rate of employment of Phlebotomists is expected to skyrocket at an average rate of 25% before 2024. In fast-growing states such as Utah and Colorado, the growth rate is projected to be nearly 40%, nearly twice the national average. However the actual employment numbers are still comparatively low, with only 30,000 jobs being added across the country. Florida, Texas, and California have the highest increases in number of jobs. A Phlebotomist’s salary is under $25,000 in much of the country, but is significantly higher in costly states such as California, Oregon, and the mid-Atlantic region, including New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland.
Below are some employment trends for Phlebotomists:
- Median Phlebotomist Salary: $15.21 hourly; $31,630 annually
- Employment: 113,000 employees
- Projected growth (2014-2024): Much faster than average (14% or Higher)
- Projected job openings (2014-2024): 51,600
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- Bureau of Labor Statistics wage data and 2014-2022 employment projections Onetonline.org