Certified Nursing Assistant

CNA vs Phlebotomy

Mary Rumbaoa
Oct 17, 2022


Choosing an entry-level career in the medical field can be tough, but it doesn't have to be. CNA & Phlebotomy are both great options for you to consider. Both jobs offer flexible schedules and good salaries, but they also differ in a number of ways. 

In this blog post, we will give you all the information you need to decide which training program would be better for you. We are excited to get started, so let's get to it!

Difference between CNA and Phlebotomy

  1. What are the requirements to become a CNA or Phlebotomist? 

The requirements to become a CNA and Phlebotomist are very similar:

  • Both require students to provide their high school diploma or GED to register for the class. Students who cannot present a high school diploma or GED may provide an 8th-grade transcript or take an 8th-grade competency exam to be eligible.
  • Students must pass a background check (no felonies or misdemeanors involving assault or theft in the last 5 years).
  • CNA and the Phlebotomy programs take 2 weeks to 3 months to complete. Costs of tuition fees vary depending on where you live and can range from $600-$2300.
  • After completing your training, you must pass the state exam for CNAs. Only California, Louisiana, Nevada, and Washington require phlebotomists to be certified. In other states, there is no state Phlebotomy exam, but several private professional associations conduct exams. Passing one of these phlebotomy exams will give you an edge in obtaining employment. 

  1. What are the duties of a CNA and Phlebotomist?

Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) and Phlebotomists are two sought after professions in the healthcare industry:

  • CNAs help patients with basic care such as bathing, grooming, and wound care while patients reside in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, or hospitals. 
  • Phlebotomists draw blood from patients for various reasons including tests, research, and donations.

  1. How much does CNA and phlebotomy pay?

As a phlebotomist and CNA, your salary is going to be based on a lot of factors. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS for short, will provide you with some pretty standard numbers that you can use as your guide. Based on BLS data:

  • Median annual wage for phlebotomists was $37,380 in May 2021. 
  • Median annual wage for CNAs was $30,310 in May 2021. 

Annual income for both careers can go up or down according to location and experience.

  1. What job opportunities are there in CNA and phlebotomy?

The field of healthcare is not going anywhere. In fact, work in healthcare is only set to grow due to the aging population and advances in treatment. We will always need more Certified Nurse Assistants and Phlebotomists.

  • Job growth. Studies show that the job outlook for CNAs is strong and there are many career opportunities for this type of work. Because CNA jobs are expected to grow by 5% between 2021 to 2031, you can imagine how good this might be as a career path. Phlebotomy is also growing quickly but not quite as much as CNA. As a result, CNAs have an easier time finding jobs.
  • Work environment. CNAs typically work in nursing homes but can also find jobs in assisted living, hospitals, home health care, and more. Phlebotomists work mainly in hospitals, medical and diagnostic laboratories (think Labcorp or Quest Diagnostics), and doctor's offices.
  • Career mobility. Both are entry-level roles and moving up typically requires additional certifications. However, there are still opportunities for advancement. Read our post on what comes next for CNAs. Phlebotomists can also choose to get more involved in the lab side of the work.

  1. Why should you pick CNA over phlebotomy?
  • CNAs have an easier time finding jobs vs. Phlebotomists. As a result, CNAs have a wider breadth of work environments and facilities to choose from. For example, there are more travel CNA opportunities than those in travel phlebotomy. 
  • CNAs can make more money in certain environments and times. Facilities are often understaffed, so CNAs can make a lot working overtime or for a staffing agency. Phlebotomy generally has fewer overtime opportunities.
  • CNAs provide more hands-on care, so they develop stronger personal relationships with their patients. A lot of times, you'll be taking care of the same people over and over again, so you can build a relationship with them. It's a wonderful feeling to know that you have made someone's life better, or just made them feel better for having company for a while. We’ve heard stories where CNAs develop stronger relationships with patients than the patients have with their own family.
  • There are generally more CNA class options than phlebotomy class options. So, if you are looking for a special class schedule (eg weekends, evenings, part-time) you may have an easier time finding a CNA class that meets your needs.
  • Read up on 6 other great reasons to become a CNA.

  1. Why should you pick phlebotomy over CNA?
  • If you are looking for a career that pays more if you work regular hours, then being a Phlebotomist will be your best choice. Phlebotomists can make as much as $3-5/hr more. 
  • Phlebotomy has better working conditions. It's not quite as emotionally and physically draining as CNAs or some other medical careers. Phlebotomists also do less manual labor, since phlebotomy is focused on drawing blood. CNAs, in comparison, are on their feet all the time and may have to lift heavy patients.
  • If you prefer to focus on the clinical side of healthcare, phlebotomy may be for you. Phlebotomists analyze patients’ lab results and discuss possible diagnoses with patients’ other healthcare providers.


Both CNA and Phlebotomy are relatively affordable and fast options to start careers in healthcare. We hope to have provided you with the information that you need in order to decide whether you would like to take a CNA class or a Phlebotomy class. 

If you’re still undecided, you can always start with one and later take the other, as the programs take only a few weeks each. Having both your CNA and Phlebotomy certifications can give you an edge when looking for employment. Plus, if you later get your EKG certification, you will be a certified Patient Care Technician.

If you are looking for a CNA and/or a Phlebotomy class, come visit us at Dreambound to check out our programs.

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Written by
Mary Rumbaoa

Mary Joy Rumbaoa is a student support representative at Dreambound and an author. She has assisted hundreds of students in locating a suitable trade school where they can complete their training as CNAs and Phlebotomists, allowing them to obtain licenses to work in the medical field.

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