In the strictest sense of the term, there’s really only one type of phlebotomist: a medical technician who collects blood samples. That being said, certain techs do earn much more than others. But this is largely based on practice setting. Many employers are willing to pay more for qualified candidates.
In 2012, phlebotomists earned an average of $30,910 a year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The top 10 percent of earners made $42,600, while the bottom 10 percent earned less than $21,340 annually. Hourly wages range from $10.26 to $20.48, nationally. But none of these figures account for practice setting -- a factor with great bearing on earnings.
The largest sector of phlebotomists practice in hospitals, but these employers pay the least, at an average of $29,840 a year. The highest wages paid were at insurance carriers, with an average of $41,350 a year. Those practicing for the state government, excluding schools and hospitals, were a close second, averaging $38,160 a year, while those practicing at drug wholesalers ranked third, with an average salary of $34,830.
In addition to practice setting, location can affect wages. Among the states, phlebotomists in Alaska garnered the highest wages, at an average of $38,750 a year. Those in California ranked second, with an average salary of $38,430, while those in Delaware were third, averaging $37,030 annually. The lowest wages paid were in Mississippi, where the average was closer to $24,040, with a mean hourly wage of $11.56. Comparatively, the BLS lists a mean hourly wage of $22.80 in Northern California's East Bay region.
The BLS expects employment for phlebotomists -- along with other medical technicians -- to grow by 15 percent through 2020. This is keeping pace with the average growth rate for all U.S. occupations, a projected 14 percent. The 15 percent translates into the creation of almost 24,000 new jobs, many of which will be for phlebotomists.
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