You really want to work in healthcare, but you don’t have years to dedicate to a medical degree. You want to get your foot in the door as soon as possible, but you’re not sure where (or how) to start. If this sounds like you, earning your online phlebotomy certification could be a great option. As a professional phlebotomist, you’ll play a critical role within your healthcare team, from drawing blood and labeling specimens to organizing samples and recording key patient information.
In May 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that phlebotomists earned a median annual salary of $36,320. The top 10% in the field brought home an estimated $50,740. According to the BLS, the U.S. economy is expected to see a 17% growth rate in phlebotomy job openings from 2019 – 2029, much faster than average.
Earning an online phlebotomy certification could be your first step toward a career in healthcare. Keep reading to find the top online phlebotomy certification programs of 2021, and to learn how you can get your higher education started today.
Top Online Phlebotomy Classes & Certification Programs of 2021
Because phlebotomy training exists as a short-term certification rather than a full degree, finding a program that holds proper accreditation and thoroughly prepares you for the rigors of the job is critical. Not all programs are created equally and doing your research is a must.
Since so many students pursuing this path are also balancing personal and professional responsibilities, EduMed is here to help. We’ve compiled a list of the top programs for 2021 to help you make an informed and confident decision. We start with two of the best online phlebotomy certification programs below.
FAQs About Online Phlebotomy Certification
Many schools and career centers provide online phlebotomy programs, but that’s not to say they all guarantee equal student outcomes. It’s important to consider questions around accreditation, graduation rates, and percentage of students who find work. The following section helps familiarize you with key parts of online phlebotomy programs and answer your most common questions.
Paying for Your Online Phlebotomy Certification Classes
Phlebotomy certification programs typically cost less than full degrees, but they can still be expensive. If you’re working with a budget or don’t want to go into debt to get your certification, there are several funding options that can help lower costs and make it easier to get yourself through school.
Scholarships & Grants
Because scholarships and grants don’t need to be repaid so long as you meet all the terms, they are always a popular option. Professional associations, schools and training centers, and government agencies provide these types of awards to students. They tend to be quite competitive, so you should start applying early.
Student loans serve as an important part of the funding process as they help you meet any outstanding financial obligations once you exhaust personal savings and other types of funding. The U.S. Department of Education offers several types of student loans based on degree level and student classification.
When filling out your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the U.S. Department of Education will determine whether you qualify for work-study opportunities based on your individual/household income. If so, you can apply to open student positions posted by your vocational school or community college. These positions provide an hourly wage that can be used towards any school and/or living expenses.
Accreditation Standards for Phlebotomy Certification Classes
Attending a properly accredited phlebotomy program is of major important given that failing to do so can cause issues when seeking certification and/or looking for jobs. At the institutional level, you will either see regional or national accreditation. While regional is seen as the more rigorous of the two, you may also come across the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Science. The purpose of accreditation is to make sure schools adequately support students while enrolled and prepare them for their intended career.
At the programmatic level, the National Phlebotomy Association provides accreditation to ensure programs meet national standards. If you’re unsure whether a school or program maintains accreditation, you can search the U.S. Department of Education’s Database of Postsecondary Institutions and Programs.
Getting Your Professional License & Certification After Your Online Phlebotomy Program
Certification plays a big role in the world of phlebotomy, and for good reason: these professionals are trusted to take blood from patients, handle it carefully, and abide by ethical and legal regulations. The vast majority of employers require their phlebotomists to hold certification from one of the national organizations reviewed earlier in this guide.
To receive certification, you typically need to complete a postsecondary non-degree award such as those earlier discussed. Many certification programs also require candidates to possess some real-world experience, such as clinical experience gained during their program and/or work experience. As of 2020, four states (California, Louisiana, Nevada, and Washington) mandate that phlebotomy technicians hold certification.
Students must also renew their certifications every couple of years, with individual certifying organizations setting specific guidelines.
Careers & Salary Outlook for Phlebotomists
If you’re looking for a steady career that offers job protection, phlebotomy could be a great fit. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that positions for phlebotomists will grow by an impressive 17% between 2019 and 2029, leading to the creation of nearly 23,000 new jobs in the coming years.
Healthcare facilities such as hospitals and laboratories all rely on phlebotomists to draw and analyze blood as this process helps physicians diagnose health issues. They may also work for blood donation centers to collect blood that can be used to help others during surgeries or health crises.
How much do phlebotomists make?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that phlebotomists earned annual median salaries of $35,510 in 2019. Those in the bottom 10% of earners brought home less than $26,000 that year, while professionals in the top 10% commanded salaries over and above $49,750.
When thinking about potential income, it’s important to know that some industries pay more than others. Outpatient care centers currently offer the most at $41,620 while hospitals pay average salaries of $33,720.
Continuing Education & Related Careers
As you continue to learn about what it’s like to work as a phlebotomist, it’s important to understand continuing education requirements. After reading through this guide, you may also feel that phlebotomy doesn’t match your career goals, but a related job may be of interest to you. Here’s what you need to know about continuing education and related degrees.
As with other healthcare disciplines, the field of phlebotomy continues to grow and evolve as new research and studies uncover more information about how the human circulatory system works and how blood samples can be used in informing patient diagnoses and treatment plans. Because of this, it’s important for phlebotomy technicians to stay abreast of changes and emerging best practices.
To maintain your certification, you must apply for renewal every few years. To do this, many certifying agencies require you to complete a set number of continuing education credits. Depending on where you live, your state board may also set continuing education requirements.
Related Degrees to Consider
- A.A.S. in Medical Assisting These two-year programs provide the skills needed to offer clinical and administrative support services in hospitals, long-term care facilities, physicians’ offices, and other healthcare settings. Many community colleges offer online medical assistant programs, making it a convenient and flexible option for students. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) found these professionals earned $34,800 in 2019.
- Associate Degree in Nursing Pursuing this two-year degree allows you to become a registered nurse and test out the waters of this profession. While many employers look for candidates with bachelor’s degrees, this program can help get your foot in the door. The BLS found that registered nurses earned median salaries of $73,300 in 2019. Learn more about earning your nursing degree online.
- A.A.S. in Dental Assisting Offered through many community colleges and vocational schools, online dental assisting programs require two years of study and prepare you to work under the supervision of dentists and dental hygienists to perform both clinical and administrative tasks. The BLS reports that dental assistants brought home median salaries of $40,080 in 2019.
Resources for Phlebotomists Students & Professionals
- American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians
The ASPT provides certification and renewal, school approval, an annual conference, and study materials to help learners prepare for their careers as phlebotomist technicians.
- Day in the Life of a Phlebotomist
This fascinating YouTube video gives you a glimpse of what to expect when working in this field and helps answer common questions.
- National Association of Phlebotomists
Members of NAP can receive access to training programs, continuing education courses, quarterly newsletters, a biyearly conference, and opportunities for mentorship.
- National Phlebotomy Association
In addition to providing certification, the NPA supports phlebotomy students and professionals alike by providing online and in-person events, job listings, and a regularly updated blog.
- Phlebotomist AMA
Reddit provided this “Ask Me Anything” with a former phlebotomist to help address common questions.
- Phlebotomy in 5
This popular podcast is produced by PhlebotomyCoach and provides an insider look at the profession.
- Phlebotomy Wisdom
This Facebook group has more than 15,000 members and provides the space for new and experienced phlebotomists alike to come together.
- Venipuncture Procedure
This YouTube video demonstrates a venipuncture on a mannequin and can serve as a helpful study tool when preparing for certification.