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Medical Assisting Program or Phlebotomy Course: Which Is Right for You?

Three phlebotomy students posing and smiling for the cameraWhat healthcare training would be right for you — a medical assisting program or phlebotomy course? Developing a healthcare career is going to take time, dedication, and maybe a little help from your friends and family along the way – but you know it will be worth it.

You also probably know an education and training investment in a healthcare career is a great way to supercharge that journey, driving you a dozen or so rungs up the career ladder.

But what if you’re stuck between choosing one healthcare training program or course over another? Such as, choosing between two of the most popular healthcare training choices today: medical assisting and phlebotomy?

Which training is going to provide you with the healthcare career you want?

The Draw of Phlebotomy

Phlebotomy technicians, or phlebotomists, are healthcare professionals who specialize in drawing blood samples from patients.

Jessie Aguirre, BAMA Phlebotomy Instructor, says, “As a phlebotomist, you spend all day drawing patients. You’ll generally register a patient, print out the lab order, and confirm the patient’s identity. Next, you’ll pick and label the tubes. Once you’ve filled the tubes, you’ll package them, and then you’ll start the process over again. Some employers may allow you to collect urine samples, toxicology screens, or culture sensitive screens; it varies from place to place.”

Does a career as a phlebotomist sound like the right fit for you? Congratulations, great choice!

Phlebotomy is a rewarding career, with the opportunity to work at a fixed location like a clinic or hospital, and the choice of taking your phlebotomy skills on the road, traveling to people’s work places and homes working as a mobile phlebotomist.

However, if you’re searching for a healthcare career that goes beyond drawing blood, it’s worthwhile considering the variety of healthcare work that comes with being a medical assistant.

Getting Smart with Medical Assisting

Remember the last time you visited a doctor’s office? Do you remember the person in scrubs who greeted you and prepared your visit for the doctor? This person most likely was a medical assistant, the face of today’s health care team.

“There’s so much more you can do when you’re a medical assistant,” says Jessie Aguirre. “You may be asked to check in and prepare patients for the doctor, take patient medical histories, take vitals, perform injections, perform EKG setups, remove sutures and change dressings, answer phones, schedule appointments, code procedures and fill out insurance forms, explain treatment procedures to patients, and assist the doctor in various procedures.”

While here at BAMA it may take longer to train become a medical assistant than it does to train to become a phlebotomist (it’s a 9-month program vs. a 100-hour phlebotomy technician course) the up-side is you’ll be a more desirable candidate on the job market, having received education and training in medical assisting, phlebotomy, and EKG.

Additionally, starting your career as a medical assistant allows you to gain valuable on-the-job training that can position you to take advantage of other healthcare  job opportunities.

As you’ll see in the career ladder for a medical assistant below, it’s encouraging to know that with medical assisting experience behind you, training to become a registered nurse, respiratory therapy assistant, physical therapy assistant, surgical technician, or occupational therapy assistant, is a real possibility.

A chart showing the different pathways your medical support career can take.

It’s a Great Time to Be Considering a Healthcare Career in the San Francisco Bay Area Whether You Choose a Medical Assisting Program or Phlebotomy Course

Forget the quick fix route to reaching your healthcare career goals. In an increasingly competitive healthcare industry, it just doesn’t exist.

As with any career, there’s no such thing as an overnight success. There’s a lot of digging work to be done before you reach down deep enough to uncover the pot of career gold we all have buried inside ourselves.

However, with all the hard work you put into your healthcare training, you can absolutely reach your career goals.

And whether it’s a medical assisting or phlebotomy career you choose, the San Francisco Bay Area is a great place to be for a person considering training for a healthcare career.

Right now, the top employer in the San Francisco Bay Area in terms of total number of people employed locally is Kaiser Permanente. The next 3 organizations on the top employers list are also all affiliated with healthcare, including government and academic institutions like the San Francisco Department of Health, UC Berkeley, and UCSF.

What could this mean for you? It could mean that training to become a medical assistant or phlebotomist might be one of the smartest career moves you ever make.

Healthcare is one of the fastest-growing industries in the US, and you can be a part of it!

Our career-oriented program gives you hands-on, real-world training and ongoing support for your long-term goals.

For more information on BAMA's medical assisting and phlebotomy degree programs, contact us today!

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