May 5, 2017 – Washington, DC – Today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that 7.1 million Americans are unemployed, while at the same time 5.7 million jobs remain unfilled in America. This gap in labor exists because employers demand job-ready employees and millions of prospective employees are simply not able to bridge the skills gap without appropriate career education and training. One such field is phlebotomy, where 28,100 skilled professionals are needed by 2024.
In 2015, nearly a third of the more than 8,000 credentials awarded in phlebotomy came from private sector career colleges and universities. Between 2011-2015, these institutions trained over 12,000 students for careers in the phlebotomy field according to CECU research supported by data from the US Department of Education’s IPEDS database and BLS. With employment in phlebotomy expected to rise significantly over the decade ahead, it will be essential for students to have access to institutions where they can learn the necessary skills for a career in the field.
BLS projects a much faster than average growth rate of 25% for the phlebotomy field between 2014-2024, as doctors and healthcare professionals continue to need bloodwork for analysis and diagnosis of diseases. With blood tests, doctors are able to evaluate the functionality of organs, identify risk factors for heart disease, assess how well medicines are working, and diagnose diseases such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, and anemia, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Blood tests may help detect heart problems early enough for treatment to work best. Phlebotomists are key to ensuring that these important tests are done efficiently for their patients.
Phlebotomists draw blood for tests, transfusions, and blood donations, as well as help patients who are nervous for blood tests to relax through the test. They also ensure that patient information is maintained in databases and that blood is labelled correctly, as well as maintain medical instruments, requiring them to have good attention to detail. In many cases at medical and diagnostic laboratories, the phlebotomist is the only interaction a patient has with medical staff, so phlebotomists must display compassion for their patients and good bedside manner. The median annual earnings of a phlebotomist are on par with the median for other healthcare support occupations at $32,710, varying slightly depending on place of work. Phlebotomists are employed at hospitals, medical and diagnostic laboratories, ambulatory healthcare services, and physicians’ offices.
“Phlebotomy programs train students to safely obtain blood specimens, as well as other diagnostic samples. Students receive didactic theory and hands-on training resulting in graduates that are essential members of the medical community. Phlebotomists are on the front lines working directly with patients. This is an exciting, in-demand and vital healthcare career option,” said Fred Freedman, president/CEO of Pima Medical Institute.
“Our institutions will be critical to meeting the employment demand in this quickly growing profession,” said Steve Gunderson, president and CEO of CECU. “We must ensure that students are able to achieve quality training at career education colleges and universities that will allow them to embark on a sustainable career in phlebotomy.”
About Shortage of Skills
Each month CECU will profile America’s “Shortage of Skills” (SOS) in one key industry. We will examine industries that are critical to America’s economic advancement and explain how a well-educated and well-trained workforce can address these issues. See previous SOS releases here.
About Career Education Colleges and Universities (CECU)
Career Education Colleges and Universities (CECU) is a membership organization of accredited institutions of higher education that provide postsecondary education with a career focus. CECU’s work supports thousands of campuses that education millions of students.