Phlebotomy Career Resource Center

Learn what phlebotomists are and what they do—see if a phlebotomy career is for you.

phlebotomy student

What is a Phlebotomist?

Phlebotomists are allied health professionals who draw blood from patients or blood donors for medical testing. They can also prepare and process blood tests. Since bloodwork is often the least favorite part of a trip to the doctor's office, it takes a skilled phlebotomist to know how to handle each patient and situation.

The Phlebotomist's Career

When you become a phlebotomist, your main duties will likely include the following:

  • Explaining the procedure to patients
  • Updating patient records
  • Preparing stains and reagents
  • Cleaning and sterilizing equipment
  • Taking a patient’s blood pressure, pulse and respiration rate
  • Sending urine and fecal samples for lab testing

It's important to remember that every time a phlebotomist draws blood or sends out lab samples, they are creating or adding to that patient's blood history. This key part of the patient's health profile will be in their record for a lifetime.

How to Use the Career Guide

If phlebotomy sounds like an intriguing career choice, click the links below to find salary data, learn what training you'll need to become a phlebotomist, and read an illuminating interview with a professional phlebotomist.

  • Phlebotomist Interview: Yvette Coward has worked for over 15 years as a phlebotomist. Find out what keeps her motivated and read some of the amusing stories she's picked up along the way.
  • Phlebotomist Certification: When you become a phlebotomist, certification is optional, but highly recommended, because most employers require it.
  • Phlebotomy Courses: In addition to having your GED or high school diploma, you'll need to graduate from an accredited phlebotomist program, usually a 1-semester to 1-year certificate or diploma.
  • Phlebotomist Salary: According to's May 2012 survey, the median national annual salary for Phlebotomists is $29,631. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors. National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.

How to Become a Phlebotomist

  • Certification - There are three ways to become a certified phlebotomist. Find out what the requirements are.
  • Training Courses - Different programs teach different courses. Get the information you need.
  • Salary Information - Salaries range by years of experience and responsibilities. Get salary and benefits information.
  • Phlebotomist Interview - Yvette's been a phlebotomist for 15 years. Her story shows us what it's really like.