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Phlebotomy Technicians Versus Medical Assistants

Careers in the medical field tend to have an excellent job outlook for the future. However, not everyone wants to spend years and years training for their career. Among those options that have relatively short training periods include phlebotomy technicians and medical assistants. Understanding a bit more about these two options will help you determine whether one choice is better than the other for you.

Training Required

Both the phlebotomy technician training program and the medical assistant training program are certificate programs that can be completed after getting a high school degree. However, in some cases, it's possible for a medical assistant to learn on the job rather than completing a training program or to complete a longer training program that results in an associate's degree. Accredited training programs for phlebotomy technicians range in length from about one semester to two years, after which it's recommended to take the test to become certified because most employers require their phlebotomy technicians to be certified. Some hands-on training is included to ensure that students become proficient in all of the different types of procedures for drawing blood. Medical assistant training is similar in length, with programs of one year or less resulting in a certificate. Those that are two years long result in an associate's degree. Those who want to be able to advance further in their career are typically better off with a degree program instead of a certificate program. As with phlebotomists, employers prefer to hire medical assistants that have passed the certification exam. With either of these careers, once certified, a person needs to take a certain number of hours of continuing education classes each year to maintain their certification.

Job Duties

Phlebotomists typically spend most of their days drawing blood, while medical assistants have a much more varied job description. They may spend time doing administrative work, such as taking patient histories, updating patient records or scheduling appointments, and they may also do more clinical work, including drawing blood, measuring vital signs, giving injections or otherwise helping the doctor with examining the patient. It's possible to specialize in clinical tasks or administrative tasks.

Pay and Job Outlook

Phlebotomist salaries averaged about $31,630 per year or $15.21 per hour in 2015, while those of medical assistants averaged about $30,590 per year or $14.71 per hour. Both jobs are expected to grow much faster than average through 2024. Overall, there are a lot more medical assistant jobs than phlebotomy technician jobs, however.

For more information and to learn about training programs, talk to a center like Western Career Training .