PhlebotomistJob Description, Salary, Career Path, and Trends

Phlebotomists serve an essential role in hospitals, medical laboratories, and doctors’ offices. They draw blood from people for testing, donation, and research. Phlebotomists need to have robust communication and interpersonal skills to help anxious people feel comfortable giving blood. Phlebotomists are on their feet most of the time interacting with patients.

Sample job description

A phlebotomist is needed for urgent hire at [Your Company Name]! A phlebotomist is a person that removes blood from the arm of a patient. Although this job seems simple enough, there are several underlying responsibilities and knowledge needed that you must be aware of prior to applying. Blood can be taken out of the body for multiple reasons. One of these reasons is an attempt to learn about the patient, whether that is figuring out their blood type, testing for diabetes, checking glucose levels, or any other factor that is important for the hospital to know. The second reason is for general lab research. In order to find cures for diseases, solutions to problems, experiments, etc., real blood is needed. The third reason is for donation. Donating blood is crucial for people with illnesses where their bodies cannot supply enough blood on their own, as well as keeping victims of gory incidents alive. Depending on the reasoning for taking the blood, different amounts are needed. This is where the knowledge of the phlebotomist is needed. If small amounts of blood are needed, phlebotomists may take blood from the capillaries, which is slightly different from a vein. On top of all this, you must label patients’ blood samples and continually organize the inventory.

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Draw blood from patients and donors
  • Talk to people to ease their concerns about the process
  • Enter patients’ information in a database
  • Label blood for testing 
  • Use basic medical supplies such as needles and vials
  • Clean and sanitize equipment and workspaces 

Education and experience

Phlebotomists must have a high school diploma or equivalent. They need to earn a post-secondary certification from a phlebotomy program at a vocational school or community college. These programs, which usually take less than a year, include classes in anatomy and physiology and work in a laboratory. 

Required skills and qualifications

  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Strong interpersonal skills for dealing with patients, doctors, and staff
  • Dexterity, hand-eye coordination, and physical stamina
  • Discretion and the ability to handle confidential information
  • Ability to work carefully and accurately under pressure
  • Caring and compassionate demeanor
  • Keen attention to detail

Preferred qualifications

  • 3+ years working in a hospital or clinic as a phlebotomist
  • Experience working with children and the elderly
  • Strong communication skills; both written and verbal
  • Ability to work independently or in a team environment
  • Comfortable working under minimal supervision

Average salary and compensation

The average salary for phlebotomist is $37,650 in the United States. Position salary will vary based on experience, education, company size, industry, and market.

LocationSalary LowSalary High
Phoenix, Arizona$37,450$50,650
Los Angeles, California$42,250$57,150
Denver, Colorado$35,200$47,600
Washington, DC$42,850$58,000
Miami, Florida$35,050$47,400
Orlando, Florida$32,300$43,700
Tampa, Florida$32,650$44,150
Atlanta, Georgia$34,250$46,300
Chicago, Illinois$39,350$53,250
Boston, Massachusetts$42,550$57,550
Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota$33,900$45,850
New York City, New York$44,800$60,600
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania$36,450$49,350
Dallas, Texas$35,500$48,050
Houston, Texas$35,350$47,850
Seattle, Washington$40,950$55,450
National Average$32,000$43,250

Typical work environment

As a phlebotomist, you may work in a number of different medical clinics, such as an ordinary hospital, medical and diagnostic laboratories, doctor’s offices, outpatient care centers, or blood donation clinics. You can expect your hours to be outside that of a regular 9-5, as healthcare is needed around the clock. You will run across many children and patients who are terrified of this procedure, so having the ability to comfort and calm down clients is a necessity. Sanitation is a huge factor in the safety of all medical work, and this specific procedure is no different. It will be your responsibility to ensure all vials, needles, test tubes, and other equipment is clean at all times. After taking samples, you will have to take the patients’ information and record it in the facility’s databases.

Typical hours

Phlebotomists work a variety of schedules because some health-care facilities are open early in the morning, late at night, or 24 hours a day. As a result, phlebotomists sometimes work evenings, weekends, or holidays. They also might need to travel from one donation site to the next.

Available certifications

There are multiple certifications that a phlebotomist may need to secure to stand out amongst the crowd of applicants. Here are the most popular.

  • NPA. The National Phlebotomy Association offers an exam, allowing you to not only prove your knowledge and skills but also separate yourself from most other workers in this field. Whether this training and exam are to help your skills increase, or catch the eye of an employer, this certification offers both. 
  • CPT. Whether you’ve been in the field for many years, or have no experience, this certificate can be helpful for you. The Certified Phlebotomy Technician certificate offers a certificate to anyone willing to meet the qualifications, which are easily obtainable to anyone committed. These trainings/tests will help you flourish in your career, allowing employers to know you are qualified for the job.

Career path

The first step toward becoming a phlebotomist is to earn a high school diploma or its equivalent. Employers also expect graduates to complete a phlebotomy program at a vocational school or community college. These programs typically take less than a year to finish and include science classes and hands-on experience in a laboratory. Students also learn how to identify and label blood samples. Several organizations — including the National Center for Competency Testing and the National Phlebotomy Association — offer certification, which some states require.

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 31-9097

2020 Employment129,600
Projected Employment in 2030158,400
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 22% increase
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift28,800 increase

With our aging population, blood draws and analysis will continue to be a critical function at hospitals and medical labs. Health emergencies often create a surge in blood donations, which drives up the need for phlebotomists. Those who want to improve their job prospects should earn certification from one of several organizations.

The Center for Phlebotomy Education produces a free email newsletter covering the latest industry news and trends.

With additional education and training, phlebotomists can expand into other careers in health care.

Sample interview questions

  • What relevant certifications do you have for the role of a phlebotomist?
  • What is the most challenging part of being a phlebotomist?
  • How do you ensure you get the correct amount of blood each time?
  • What do you do to draw blood when your patient is dehydrated?
  • What’s your technique for finding the best veins?
  • Are you experienced in working with a child’s veins?
  • Can you tell me about your experience drawing blood, and dealing with blood?
  • What are the most important safety procedures, and how do you achieve proper sanitation of your equipment?

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