Ever had your blood drawn? If it wasn’t done by a nurse, it was probably a phlebotomist taking the sample. Sometimes referred to as a phlebotomy technician, this lab technologist is trained to accurately draw, transport and store blood. While often considered a medical specialty, phlebotomy doesn’t pay as much other specialties. In fact, it’s one of the lower paid medical technology careers.
In 2011, medical and clinical laboratory technicians averaged $38,960 a year. But higher salaries paid by certain employers can skew the average. For this reason, median wage is often used to predict a technician’s earnings. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, half of all technicians earned $36,950 a year or less. Neither figure, however, accounts for specialty. A phlebotomy technician is paid on a different scale from a histotechnician, who prepares tissue specimens for pathologists.
A survey conducted by the American Society for Clinical Pathology found that phlebotomy technicians often earn less than other specialty technicians. As of 2010, the median wage for a phlebotomy tech was $13.50 an hour, or $28,080 a year — more than $8,000 less than the median wage for all technicians. A histotechnician, on the other hand, earned a median wage of $22.68 an hour, or $47,174 a year — roughly $10,000 more than the median wage for all technicians.
As with most medical careers, practice setting affects salaries, and a phlebotomy technician is no exception. As of 2010, phlebotomy technicians earn the most at reference labs, averaging $16.74 an hour, or $34,819 a year. All other practice settings, such as physician's offices, hospitals and private clinics, are comparable as far as wages go, according to the ASCP. The average wage is $13.41 an hour, or $27,893 a year.
Whether or not phlebotomists are certified can affect their salary. On average, certified phlebotomy techs earn almost $1.50 an hour more than their uncertified colleagues. In 2010, certified phlebotomy technicians earned $14.06 an hour, while those not holding a certification made just $12.66 an hour, adds the ASCP.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 15 percent growth in employment for all medical technicians between 2010 and 2020. This is almost on a par with the 14 percent job growth for all U.S. occupations. As with most medical careers, the ever-expanding senior population increases the demand for technicians.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2011: Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technicians
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technologists and Technicians
- American Society for Clinical Pathology: 2010 Wage Survey of U.S. Clinical Laboratories
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