Are you curious about the difference between Phlebotomists and Medical Assistants (MA)? They both play important roles in healthcare and their tasks help to support medical professionals in delivering quality patient care. Continue reading to discover further details.
A Phlebotomist is someone that performs blood draws. You can see them working at blood banks, diagnostic centers, and clinics. MAs also perform blood draws, but they also perform a wider variety of tasks.
Phlebotomists are trained professionals who draw blood from patients. They prepare blood samples for laboratory testing. They also collect blood for various purposes like donation and transfusions. Phlebotomists work in a variety of places like laboratories, hospitals, diagnostic centers, etc.
MAs also draw blood samples from patients, but they also have a wider range of duties. MAs are in charge of duties that support patients and medical professionals. As an MA, you can work at a hospital, outpatient center, and other organizations. Take a look at the checklist below for the detailed duties of Phlebotomists and MAs.
To be a Phlebotomist, you must pass the National Certified Phlebotomy Technician (NCPT) test. Before taking the exam, you must first complete a training program. The test requires you to perform 100 successful venipunctures and 25 skin punctures.
A High School diploma or an equivalent is the only prerequisite to join a phlebotomy program. Then, you can enroll in a phlebotomy program—which usually requires 4-8 months of training. You can find Phlebotomy programs at trade schools, technical schools, and community colleges. Phlebotomists can choose from various certifications, including:
Training costs can range from $600 to $2,500. This is depending on the program and institution you enroll in.
The path to becoming a MA is a little different compared to becoming a Phlebotomist. As an MA, you will need to graduate from either of the two accredited programs:
MA programs might last anywhere from nine months and two years. Accredited MA programs cost between $1,000 and $3,000. To get a job right after, you must pass the CMA (AAMA) exam. You can also seek a degree instead of enrolling in a certificate program if you like.
Pursuing a career in phlebotomy is something you won’t regret. The BLS projects a 10% growth in the employment of Phlebotomists from 2021 to 2031—a lot faster than the average for most occupations. The median annual wage for Phlebotomists two years ago was $37,380 ($17.97/hr).
There are several ways to advance your phlebotomy career path. Obtaining a specialty may boost your yearly earnings and professional qualifications. Examples of phlebotomy specialties include:
Experts say that employment for MAs will grow 29% from 2016 to 2026. That's almost three times faster than the Phlebotomist employment growth rate! The mean annual wage for MAs is $40,700 ($19.57/hour). The top-paying states for MAs are Washington, D.C., Alaska, California, and Massachusetts—they all offer average annual salaries above $44,000.
MAs can take advantage of several opportunities to grow. Having a background will be a strong foundation for starting a healthcare business. You can also specialize depending on your passion for healthcare. Consider the following specialization if you want to further your career:
Both Phlebotomists and MAs ensure a seamless flow of procedures in supporting medical professionals. They may have some differences in duties and training, but they share the same vision. They work together to guarantee the smooth functioning of healthcare facilities.
If it weren't for them, facilities and professionals would face challenges in working. Without Phlebotomists, blood collection and specimen processing would be more difficult. Also, Physicians and nurses may need to spend more time delivering various tasks if there are no MAs.
If you aspire to focus on venipunctures and blood drawing alone, go for being a Phlebotomist. While being a MA requires longer training and wider tasks, you’ll make a great contribution to the healthcare field either way.
Venice Nuyda is a student-support representative at Dreambound. She is responsible for helping students through their training journey in the allied health space. She is passionate about helping others and writing informative articles to aid candidates in advancing their vocational careers.