There are no jobs out there that do not have some good and bad things about it.
Phlebotomy careers are no different.
If you read our job description guide on what it takes to become a phlebotomist, you might already know some of the pros and cons of being a phlebotomist.
But, we wanted to dive in a bit deeper so you understand just how good or bad each may be.
Many of these pros and cons about phlebotomy careers come from real phlebotomists working in the field! We scoured places like Reddit and Quora to bring you the most relevant items they talked about loving and hating in their jobs.
Since drawing blood samples is a core part of this job, anyone that freaks out at the sight of blood might want to move on to the next opportunity out there!
If blood does not scare you, then this can be a good career choice to consider.
Pros and Cons Of Being A Phlebotomist
Phlebotomy technicians have a lot of pros and cons in their daily lives. Below we will tackle what most phlebotomists say are the worst and best parts of their jobs.
Phlebotomy Career Pros
- Short educational time needed
- Low cost of education
- Growing field
- Helping people
- Steady income
- Flexible schedule
- Other career exposure
- Patient experience
Phlebotomy Career Cons
- Health risks (bodily fluids, hepatitis b)
- Needlestick injury
- Long hours on feet
- Hand-eye coordination
- Working with children
- Advancement opportunities
- Doctor expectations
Pros of a Phlebotomy Career
Let’s start with all the good reasons you should get into phlebotomy. The main positive is that it is a great first step into the healthcare industry and can offer many opportunities in a healthcare institution of your choice.
This first step can lead to future opportunities in the industry.
There are a lot of other great things about this career that make many people love their jobs.
01. Short Educational Time
While many careers may require formal education or a long time in trade school, phlebotomists do not need a long time to get into the workforce. A typical phlebotomy training course may be between 40 and 80 hours of classroom learning and about 30-40 clinical hours giving you hands-on experience.
The hands on experience might include things like drawing blood samples, working with patients, and blood testing procedures.
This makes phlebotomy education one of the lowest in duration before you get into the working world.
But, you can always go on to get a Bachelor’s degree in other medical related fields as well if you decide you want more responsibility in the medical field. Furthering your education can definitely help you climb that medical career path and improve your pay scale.
02. Low Cost Of Education
Not only are the courses short, but they are also affordable. Many trade schools can be costly, but phlebotomy courses are extremely short which keeps the cost low. You may pay a few hundred dollars for your education or a couple of thousand depending on where you decide to get your education.
03. Growing Field
With a growth of 22% expected through 2030, there will be plenty of employment opportunities as a phlebotomist. As others retire or move into new jobs the openings will continue to grow for this career. Jobs in outpatient facilities, emergency clinics, blood banks, or trauma centers will always be available.
04. Helping People
Testing blood on patients is incredibly important work and you can literally be a part of helping save someone’s life. When you draw blood and send it to the lab, you are a part of the process of helping to find diseases – which can result in much-needed treatments that might save their life!
Volunteer work is another way phlebotomists help people and their communities!
05. Steady Income
With the Bureau of Labor Statistics showing a median salary of $37,380 and a large need for phlebotomists, you will have a good wage with a secure job. Your risk of losing your job due to any world events or automation will be slim.
And for a career that requires little education or training, the salaries are fair and the health benefits are often good.
View our salary guide to see how much phlebotomists make.
06. Flexible Schedule
Because you can work in so many different environments, you can really find a place that has a schedule that works for you. Working in a hospital or other healthcare facilities can offer flexible work since many are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
If you love midnight shifts, then those are available as well.
If you want Monday-Friday with a 9-5 schedule, then you can work in a doctor’s office or blood donor centers. Some companies will even allow you to do 4 workday weeks.
07. Other Career Exposure
Many medical professionals start in phlebotomy and then move on to other careers. Working as a phlebotomist can give you exposure to a lot of other healthcare jobs and you might find one that interests you enough to continue your education.
08. Patient Experience
Many phlebotomists find that they are able to not only give a patient amazing blood draw experience but change their perception of what it will be like. So many patients come in terrified about getting blood samples taken and have a negative perspective, but skilled phlebotomists can turn that frown upside down.
It can be a great feeling when a patient says, “wow that was not so bad”! Of course you will need great communication skills when dealing with patients. Healthcare professionals with a special knack for making patients feel comfortable when they are scared will go a long way in this job.
You can choose to work in so many different environments. From a busy hospital ER to a blood bank – you can choose the type of job that appeals to you the most. You can also work with the elderly at nursing homes, spend time at health fairs, or even become a traveling phlebotomist.
Ready To Get Your Phlebotomy Training Started?
If you like what you are seeing so far, then why not get started on finding a phlebotomy technician program near you!
Below are our partner phlebotomy programs, just enter your zip, find a program close to you, and ask the school to send you some information! Some may be community colleges where you can get an associate degree, others may be phlebotomy specific certification programs.
Cons of a Phlebotomy Career
Ok, so with the good out of the way, let’s dig into the not-so-good. Hopefully, you will find the cons not so horrible!
01. Health Risk
While the work environment generally is good for most phlebotomists, the risk of injury is real.
There will be a risk to your own health when dealing with blood. If you are not careful in how you handle and prepare the vials, you can risk catching diseases that can be transmitted by blood. Needlestick injuries are one of the top issues that can happen.
Injuries can happen that come with serious consequences including the transmission of diseases like human immunodeficiency virus (HIV),
02. Needles and Blood
Listen, if needles and blood scare you, then you should not even consider this career. Getting a blood sample is the core work that will be done on a day to day basis.
I for one am terrified of needles, so I would not even give it second look. Same with blood. If gory movies gross you out, then seeing blood day in and day out may not be a good choice either.
While most of the day will be spent working with patients, there will also be a bit of paperwork that will need to be done.
You may not realize just how much, so this is your warning! You will need to prepare patient medical records, document work done, and possible deal with medical insurance issues.
04. Long Hours On Your Feet
Depending on where you work, you may spend many hours of your day on your feet. Different career settings will vary greatly and some can require much more time on your feet than others. Working in a hospital or diagnostic clinic can mean long hours of standing since many may be in 24-hour environments.
Working in a doctor’s office or blood bank may not be as harsh on the body, so if this is a concern you should choose where you work carefully.
05. Hand-Eye Coordination
You will need exceptional hand-eye coordination to do this job. Your ability to create a stress-free and painless experience is crucial for patients. If your hands are not steady – you can harm patients and create a more stressful environment.
Some may not learn that they are not good at this until they are in a clinical training environment. So it may be after you enroll in school that you do not have the steady hand needed to do the job well.
Another thing to think about is aging. As you get older you may lose that steady hand, or have eyesight issues that can affect your work.
There is no denying that this will be a stressful job. More stress will exist in certain environments like emergency rooms and even some labs that have minimum patient requirements.
Places like Quest diagnostics may require 20 or 30 patients an hour which can take a toll on your stress levels!
07. Working With Children
If your heart hurts at the thought of poking and prodding babies and children, then this might be a tough career. Children can be challenging since they are so afraid and sometimes hard to contain to get the blood drawn safely.
Also, children have smaller veins and can be more difficult to find – or have a lot of baby fat you have to get through.
08. Little Advancement Opportunity
While many phlebotomists do stay in their jobs for a while, a large portion moves into other medical careers. This is often because there is really nowhere to go as a phlebotomy technician. There are no upper-level careers that you can be promoted to.
09. Patient Injuries
Patient injuries are not incredibly common with experienced phlebotomists, but one huge con to being a phlebotomist is one does get injured.
If they are stuck the wrong way if they are fussing or stressed. Some patients might try to pull away which in turn can cause a big issue. Sometimes these can result in a lawsuit if the injury is severe enough, which in turn can impact your career.
10. Doctor Expectations
If you work directly with doctors – like in an ER, they may order a panel of blood work. You then draw the patient’s blood, but then the doctor may come back and ask for more. It can be annoying to have to keep drawing blood from a patient and can cause more stress than you already have.
One thing I found while researching this article is that you will hear a lot of really bad vampire jokes. So, not sure if that is a pro or con of being a phlebotomy technician – but just wanted to forewarn you!