Should You Go to a Medical School or a Phlebotomist School?

Are you trying to decide whether you should go to a phlebotomy school or medical school?

Often, if you are considering a medical career, your goal is making a difference in the lives of many people. There are many careers in healthcare to choose from and deciding on one can prove difficult. Some people are torn between choosing medical school or a phlebotomy school.

However, one should remember that there are some factors to consider such as the prerequisite requirements, duration of study, role variations, and cost of the education. Being aware of these aspects of each option will guide you to make a better choice.

1. Prerequisites

  • Medical School: To be qualified to apply to medical school, you must first graduate from a 4-year university with a bachelor’s degree and and the necessary medical school prerequisite courses.  Additionally, you must take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). Generally, competitive medical schools require an above average score.

  • Phlebotomy School: There is no requirement for a previous health related degree to apply to a phlebotomy school. Even if you are a recent high school graduate, you can begin your training as a Phlebotomist. The only requirement for admission to a Phlebotomy school is proof of high school diploma or GED.  Some schools may also require proof of certain vaccinations and health care provider Basic Life Support (BLS) card issued by the American Heart Association.

2. Duration

  • Medical School: Once you are accepted to medical school, you will spend 4 years completing your degree in medicine. Following medical school graduation, you will start a term of three to seven years of residency and internship, depending upon your chosen medical field or specialty.

  • Phlebotomy School: The average duration of phlebotomy training in the different institutions is two to three months. The average time is usually 120 to 450 hours of didactic training, practical training, and externship.

3. Cost differences

  • Medical school: Medical school education cost will vary depending on the location of the school and whether it is public or private. The Association of American Medical Colleges evaluated the average cost of attendance of medical schools in 2011. They found that the average cost of attendance for four years of medical school at public universities was $187,000 and at private universities the cost was $264,000. The average stipend during the residency program ranges from $40,000 to $50,000 a year.

  • Phlebotomy School: The tuition for phlebotomy schools usually ranges from $600 to $2,500. This includes the lecture, practical instruction, and an externship. The fee for phlebotomy certification is only $105..

4. Different responsibilities

  • Doctors: The medical doctor is considered the “captain of the team” and is the person who examines, diagnoses, and directs other health professionals to coordinate the care and treatment of patients. The doctor assumes the liability for the plan of care, and is responsible for complications that may occur.

  • Phlebotomists: Phlebotomists are a vital part of the medical team.  Responsibilities include arterial and venous specimen draws, urine collection and sterile processing of specimens.  The Phlebotomist’s job is critical to gathering information that will help guide a patient’s treatment plan.  Other responsibilities may be obtaining blood for transfusion and blood glucose testing.

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