Shortage of Phlebotomists = Varied Career Opportunities
Many healthcare professions are in high demand these days, including nurses, physician assistants (PAs), physical therapists and lab technicians. But today there’s a serious nationwide shortage of phlebotomists, the professionals who draw blood from patients to help physicians make accurate diagnoses and prescribe the most appropriate treatment.
Currently, there are about 112,700 phlebotomists, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which noted that the median annual wage was $31,630 in May 2015. The BLS forecasts a need for 28,000 more professionals between 2014 and 2024. In addition, U.S. News & World Report recently ranked phlebotomists #19 in its list of “Best Health Care Support Jobs.”
Most phlebotomists work in hospitals, diagnostic laboratories, blood donor centers, and other healthcare organizations serving patients with acute disorders or chronic conditions. While many employers offer some type of flexible scheduling, phlebotomists are needed 24/7 in many hospital or laboratory settings. Being willing to work different shifts is a major plus in obtaining a job offer – particularly for someone new to the profession.
Phlebotomists usually enter this high-demand healthcare occupation after earning a professional certification or completing a college program. Phlebotomists must also obtain a license to practice, and meet other requirements, which vary from state to state.
Along with meeting education and training requirements, phlebotomists must also be detail oriented and follow instructions to ensure safety at every step of the process of drawing blood, labeling the samples and preparing them for shipment to a local or regional laboratory.
Being comfortable with patients is another important trait, since many children, adolescents and adults are fearful of having their blood drawn. A phlebotomist who can reduce that anxiety and provide reassurance can go a long way to improving the overall patient experience with the organization.
As an important contributor to the collaborative healthcare team, phlebotomists may have opportunities to expand or broaden their skills, learning about different aspects of care or advancing to a supervisory or managerial position.
So if you’re thinking about a satisfying career in healthcare, consider becoming a phlebotomist. It just might be your path to a rewarding future!