Deciding Between a Medical Assistant and Phlebotomy Career

January 9, 2023


Healthcare is a broad field with many different specialties. If you’re considering a healthcare career, you may be interested in a medical assistant and phlebotomy career. Both medical assistants and phlebotomists play essential roles in healthcare, but there are some key differences between the two careers. 

Medical Assistant & Phlebotomy: Key Differences

Medical assistants generally have more responsibilities than phlebotomists. Medical assistants may perform administrative tasks such as scheduling appointments, handling insurance paperwork, and answering patient questions. They may also assist doctors and nurses with clinical tasks such as taking medical histories and vital signs, administering medications, and drawing blood. Phlebotomists, on the other hand, specialize in drawing blood. 

Medical Assisting Duties 

  • Administrative duties such as recording patient visits, charting a patient’s history, and scheduling appointments.
  • Clinical duties such as taking vitals, phlebotomy, administering medications, including injections, and performing an EKG.
  • Assisting physicians with patient care, including preparing patients and rooms for examinations.
  • Proper management of the front and back office.
  • Dosage calculations and medical math.

Phlebotomy Duties 

  • Patient identification, preparation, risk factors, and appropriate responses to complications that may arise from phlebotomy.
  • How to efficiently perform venipuncture, butterfly, evacuated tube system (ETS), and syringe methods of draw.
  • Become familiar with proper specimen handling, including collection, transport, processing, and storage.
  • Understand how to interact professionally and treat patients with empathy and compassion.

Salaries & Job Outlooks of Medical Assistant & Phlebotomy Careers

The job outlook for clinical medical assistants is growing much faster than in other occupations. According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, the employment of clinical medical assistants is projected to grow by 16% from 2021-2031. 

Phlebotomist jobs are also booming. According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, the expected growth for phlebotomy technicians is anticipated to be about 17% from 2019-2029. 

Nationally, both medical assistant and phlebotomy positions average around $37,000 a year, though some states average into the $50s. 

Training & Certification Requirements

The training and certification requirements for medical assistants and phlebotomists vary depending on the state where you work. However, both careers require at least a high school diploma or equivalent and national certification. In some cases, state licensure is required. You can learn more about the particular requirements for your state on our FAQ page here

Our medical assistant and phlebotomy programs include hands-on training, a guaranteed externship, and the national exam. CALRegional students can be confident that they will be immediately job-ready upon completing our programs. 

Both medical assistants and phlebotomists play essential roles in healthcare, but there are some key differences between the two careers. Still not sure? Take our online quiz to see which CALRegional program may be best for you.