Phlebotomist Careers: Job Duties, Education & Certification
Find out about phlebotomy technician training, careers and salary.
Phlebotomy Technician Jobs
A phlebotomy technician draws quality blood samples from patients or blood donors and prepares those specimens for medical testing. Many patients have phobias when it comes to blood and needles, and giving blood can be the most difficult part of an office visit. The phlebotomy technician must create an atmosphere of trust and confidence with patients while drawing blood specimens in a skillful, safe and reliable manner.
|Median Annual Salary||$33,670|
|Job Growth||25% through 2026, much faster than average|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2018-19 Occupational Outlook Handbook; Phlebotomists.
*The salary information listed is based on a national average, unless noted. 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.
Phlebotomist Job Responsibilities
Phlebotomy technicians must like challenge and responsibility. They must also be accurate, work well under pressure and communicate effectively. Because they work directly with patients, they must notice and relay any important information gained during interactions to doctors, nurses and laboratory professionals.
Typically, phlebotomy technicians are responsible for the following:
- Explaining procedures to patients
- Drawing blood and applying pressure or bandages after blood is drawn
- Taking blood pressure, pulse and respiration readings
- Updating patient records
- Preparing stains and reagents
- Cleaning and sterilizing equipment
- Sending blood, urine and fecal samples to the lab for testing
Phlebotomy Technician Workplace
Phlebotomy technicians work in hospitals, laboratories, physician’s offices, donation facilities and other health care settings where blood is taken and analyzed. Some technicians travel to call on patients who are homebound. In large hospitals or in independent laboratories that operate continuously, technicians usually work the day, evening or night shift and may work on weekends or holidays. Technicians in smaller facilities may work rotating shifts. Some take emergency calls several nights a week or on weekends.
Phlebotomy Technician Education and Training
Accredited phlebotomy programs usually take from one semester to one year to complete, culminating in a certificate or diploma. Coursework generally includes the following:
- Anatomy and physiology
- Blood and cell composition
- Blood sampling procedures
- Laboratory safety
Hands-on training will include these blood-drawing procedures:
- Basic venipuncture techniques
- Butterfly techniques commonly used for the elderly and children with small veins
- Fingerstick methods for people with damaged or hard-to-find veins
- Healstick or capillary puncture for newborns
Programs will also cover lab equipment handling skills and proper methods to clean up spills to prevent infection and physical harm. Some programs also include CPR certification.
Phlebotomy Technician Licensing and Certification
While certification is optional, it is highly recommended as most employers require it. The following agencies offer testing that awards the Certified Phlebotomy Technician (CPT) or Registered Phlebotomy Technician (RPT) titles to those who pass:
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
- American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians
Certified phlebotomy technicians must obtain continuing education credits or complete certification management programs to maintain their status. Phlebotomy technicians can enhance their employability by becoming certified as Donor Phlebotomy Technicians (DPT), qualifying them to work in blood collection centers.