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Phlebotomist Career Factsheet

By: CareerFactsheet.com- Updated: Aug. 31, 2013

Professional Profile
Avg. hrs per week 40
*75th percentile earn $35,920
Median Wages $30,910
25th percentile earn $25,110
Education Phlebotomy Program

Alternate Titles: Lab Technician, Phlebotomist Technician.

What is a Phlebotomist? Among the many specialties for in the medical and clinical laboratory technology field is phlebotomy. Phlebotomists work in a variety health care and medical facilities, including hospitals, clinics, research facilities and universities, and medical laboratories. Like other medical laboratory technologists and technicians, phlebotomists are responsible for collecting samples of body fluids, tissue, and other substances in order to perform tests or research.

Phlebotomists are technicians and technologists that draw blood for tests, transfusions, donations, and/or research. As part of their duties, they may also explain the process to patients before and during the procedure. They may also assist patients following a procedure in case of complications or adverse reactions.

Phlebotomist Duties

Phlebotomists primarily collect blood through venipuncture, which is the process of obtaining blood through intravenous access. This technique is used to collect blood for diagnostic tests, monitoring blood components to assist in treatment, administer treatments, remove blood, or collect blood for transfusions.  When drawing blood, a technician will apply a tourniquet to the patient’s arm. After locating a vein, a phlebotomist swabs the area with disinfectant and inserts a needle into the vein. Blood is then drawn into a collection tube.

Phlebotomists may also collect blood with dermal or skin punctures using fingersticks or heelpricks. When a fingerstick or heelprick is used, a finger is pricked to collect a blood sample instead of inserting a needle into a vein. This technique is used when a small sample is required since it only produces a small amount of blood. It is also less distressing and painful for the patient than venipuncture.

In addition to drawing blood from patients and donors, phlebotomists also assemble equipment to prepare for and carry out procedures. Examples of commonly used equipment include needles, blood collection devices, and tourniquets. They also use gauze, cotton, and alcohol to prepare and care for areas of the body where blood is drawn.

When carrying out procedures, a phlebotomist verifies and records a patient’s or donor’s identity. They may also ask a patient or donor questions, take vital signs, and test blood samples. After drawing blood, the technician will label and store the blood for processing or testing. Phlebotomists may also collect and package urine specimens, accept incoming specimens, and direct specimens to the appropriate department or staff for testing and analysis. 


While many phlebotomists are considered medical laboratory technicians, they may be considered technologists if they perform tests and procedures under the supervision of a physician or other health care personnel. Phlebotomists may also specialize in working with animals, for example in a veterinarian’s office or animal hospital.

Some phlebotomists may specialize as blood bank technologists or immunohaematology technologists. These specialists collect blood to classify samples by type, as well as prepare blood and its components for transfusions. These technicians may be asked to identify the number of cells, the cell morphology or the blood group and type, and if the blood is compatible with other blood types.

Video Career Profile

Work Conditions

Like other medical laboratory technologists and technicians, phlebotomists work in health care facilities. Phlebotomists can be found in hospitals, independent laboratories, research laboratories, and medical clinics. They also work in blood banks, doctor’s offices, and other medical facilities.

Phlebotomists work on their feet for extended periods of time while collecting samples and work closely with medical equipment needed to draw blood. They also interact closely with patients, and may be asked to lift or turn patients who are unable to do so. They may also be exposed to pathogens and communicable diseases when working with patients, although their training minimizes most risks.

Phlebotomist Career Training

Formal training in phlebotomy is generally part of broader education programs in the medical health care field. Phlebotomists can either receive formal education and training through medical laboratory technology or medical laboratory scientist programs or complete a specific program in phlebotomy.

Medical laboratory technicians generally require an associate’s degree or postsecondary certificate for entry level work in phlebotomy. Certificate programs are available from trade and technical schools, community colleges, and some junior colleges, as well as hospitals. Degree programs are offered by community colleges, junior colleges, and universities. Technologists often complete bachelor’s degree programs, which can range from two years for an associate’s degree or three to four years for a bachelor’s degree.

Existing medical and health care professionals can complete specialized training in phlebotomy by completing a certificate program in phlebotomy. Medical laboratory technician or technology certificate programs that incorporate phlebotomy may also be offered, as well as specialized phlebotomy programs, such as blood donor phlebotomy. These programs are often available directly from hospitals and they allow you to switch careers or specialize in phlebotomy. They are also available from associations such as the American Society of Clinical Pathologists and at trade and technical schools, community colleges, and some junior colleges.

Salaries Overview

Phlebotomists are classified as medical or clinical laboratory technicians by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. According to data from May 2012, technicians earned a mean hourly wage of $18.73 and a mean annual wage of $38,960. Technicians earned a median or average wage of $17.76 per hour and $36,950 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Some phlebotomists may also be classified as medical technologists when supervising technicians and conducting more complex tasks and some procedures, as directed by a supervising physician or medical personnel. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a technologist earned a mean wage $27.94 per hour and $58,120 per year in 2011. Similarly, their median wage was $27.41 per hour or $57,010 per year.

For further career advice on Phlebotomy Career Training read our articles below:

How To Train As A Phlebotomist
Phlebotomy Training
Find out how much training you need to become a phlebotomist, how long is the training for and best places to train.
What is Needed to Be a Certified Phlebotomist
Phlebotomy Certification
What is needed to become a certified phlebotomist? We take a look at the prerequisites, certifying bodies and funding information.
How Much Does a Phlebotomist Make?
Phlebotomist Salary
We take a look at what phlebotomists earn hourly and yearly using various sources and how to maximze earning potential.

*Source: Salary ranges obtained from :Bureau of Labor Statistics 2011 wage data

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