In this guide, you will learn how to advance your career in phlebotomy. We will cover career advancement options within the field of phlebotomy itself as well as other, more challenging opportunities, such as becoming an MLT, a nurse or a physician.
The guide was compiled in the form of frequently asked questions for your convenience.
If you feel there are questions still unanswered, please, leave a comment or contact us. We will answer your question and update the guide as soon as possible.
How Could I Advance My Phlebotomy Career?
Some phlebotomists choose to further their career in the field of phlebotomy. This option is somewhat limited. The typical advancement opportunities include management or supervisory positions and becoming a donor phlebotomy technician.
Besides the normal pay increases you would receive over time, there are several ways that you can increase your salary.
- You can find a position at a higher paying employer.
- You can relocate to a part of the country where a phlebotomist receives higher pay. In general, phlebotomists on the West Coast and in the Northeast part of the U.S. tend to appear higher in the phlebotomy pay scale; those in the Southeast tend to earn less. There is also a significant gap in the wage that a phlebotomy technician earns in a rural setting when compared to the city. A phlebotomy technician earns less in a rural setting than in the city. In some cases, there can be a disparity as large as 20 percent.
- You can attain the necessary credentials to work as a specialist.
What is a Phlebotomy Specialist?
A phlebotomy specialist is a term that refers to any phlebotomist who has earned specialized certification. Some common examples of these specialists include:
- Collections Phlebotomy Specialist
- Registered Phlebotomy Specialist
- Patient Service Technician Specialist
Each position listed specializes in a particular type of practice. On average, these specialists earn considerably more than the typical phlebotomist does.
How Do I Become a Phlebotomy Specialist?
In order to become a specialist, you need additional training. In general, you must have several years of experience in the field.
Overall, one of the best ways to increase your pay as a phlebotomist is to obtain additional education and certifications. Your career path in phlebotomy will determine which courses you will take throughout your career as a phlebotomist.
Why Would I Want to Become a Donor Phlebotomy Technician (DPT)?
If you are already a certified phlebotomist, you may want to consider advancing your career by becoming a DPT.
Once you become a DPT, you can seek employment in blood collection centers. As a DPT, you will earn a higher wage. For example, after five years of experience you will earn approximately $48,000.
How Do I Become a Donor Phlebotomy Specialist?
- You must have a high school diploma or GED and you need to complete an acceptable donor phlebotomy training program.
- You must provide an experience documentation form completed by your immediate supervisor stating that you have successfully completed at least 25 donor collections.
- Along with this completed form, you must provide a Letter of Authenticity from laboratory management or your immediate supervisor. This letter must be printed on an original letterhead. It has to state that the experience documentation form was completed, signed and then dated by laboratory management or your immediate supervisor.
You can take the DPT certification examination through the ASCP for $125.
While it is true that being a phlebotomist is a career in itself, you may decide to advance your career and branch off into other areas of the medical field. The field of phlebotomy is usually considered a great starting point for those who decide to pursue other careers in the medical field, including medical billing and/or nursing.
How Would I Obtain a Nursing Degree While Working as a Phlebotomist?
- A diploma from a hospital or accredited nursing program;
- An associate’s degree in nursing (two-year program); or
- A bachelor’s degree in nursing (four-year program).
Diplomas continue to decrease in popularity as most candidates choose to obtain either an associate’s or bachelor’s degree because of their availability and versatility.
How Would I Become a Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT)?
There is a great demand for MLTs and this career choice was voted among the Top 50 Careers of 2011.
You must obtain an associate’s degree and complete an accredited training program for medical laboratory technicians.
As an MLT, you can advance to the role of a medical technologist (MT) by obtaining a bachelor’s degree and hands-on experience.
The starting annual salary for an ASCP certified MLT is approximately $27,000 and an ASCP certified MT earns about $30,000.
The cost to complete the two-year MLT course is approximately $15,000.
It costs about $27,000 at a public college and $100,000 at a private college to obtain a bachelor’s degree in nursing. An online bachelor’s degree in nursing costs about $20,000.
Before you can become licensed and begin practicing as a nurse, you must pass the NCLEX-RN or NCLEX-PN examination.
The starting annual salary for an RN is approximately $30,000.
What Requirements Do I Have to Meet to Take the ASCP Examination for the MLT Category?
You must be able to satisfy at least one of the following set of requirements:
At least 60 semester hours of academic credit from an accredited college/university or an associate’s degree and
- Successfully complete a NAACLS accredited MLT program within five years time; or
- 6 semester hours of both biology and chemistry, as well as a CLA (ASCP) certification;
- 6 semester hours of both biology and chemistry, and successfully complete a 50 week United States military medical laboratory training course; or
- 6 semester hours of both biology and chemistry, and have full-time experience in the clinical laboratory for a total of three years. This experience must have occurred within ten years of the application. It can be obtained in various laboratory departments including Chemistry, Blood Banking, Hematology, Immunology, Microbiology, Urinalysis and Body Fluids in an accredited laboratory located within the United States or Canada.
Would Being a Phlebotomist Help Me in My Quest to Become a Physician?
By becoming a phlebotomist, you will have access to many departments throughout the hospital. You may need to draw a patient during her surgical procedure, after she enters the emergency room with injuries or is about to give birth in the labor and delivery department.
By having access to these different departments, you will be able to determine which areas you prefer. This, in turn, could help you decide what kind of physician/specialist you would like to be.
To become a physician you need to complete four years of medical school and then take the United States Medical Licensing Examination. Once you have successfully completed the licensing examination, you can apply for a residency program. The residency program usually lasts between four to six years. It depends on the specialty you choose.
A general practitioner earns an annual salary that ranges from about $46,000 to nearly $200,000. If you decide to specialize in neurology, you can expect to earn somewhere between $60,000 and $250,000 a year.
It costs about $250,000 to obtain your degree from a public college; a private college is substantially more. Many times, hospitals will assist their employees by helping them pay for college if the employee agrees to remain employed at the facility for a certain length of time. As a phlebotomist, you may be able to receive assistance from your place of employment in obtaining your degree.
As Seen Here, There are Many Careers to Explore in the Medical Field
You may decide to remain in the laboratory department by becoming a phlebotomy supervisor or medical lab technician; or you may want to explore other aspects of the healthcare industry to find your niche. Whichever you decide, phlebotomy is a great way to enter the medical field.