Phlebotomists

Summary

phlebotomists image
Phlebotomists draw blood for tests, transfusions, research, or blood donations.
Quick Facts: Phlebotomists
2014 Median Pay $30,670 per year
$14.74 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education Postsecondary nondegree award
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training None
Number of Jobs, 2014 112,700
Job Outlook, 2014-24 25% (Much faster than average)
Employment Change, 2014-24 28,100

What Phlebotomists Do

Phlebotomists draw blood for tests, transfusions, research, or blood donations. Some explain their work to patients and provide assistance when patients have adverse reactions after their blood is drawn.

Work Environment

Phlebotomists work mainly in hospitals, medical and diagnostic laboratories, blood donor centers, and doctors’ offices.

How to Become a Phlebotomist

Phlebotomists typically enter the occupation with a postsecondary nondegree award from a phlebotomy program. Almost all employers look for phlebotomists who have earned professional certification.

Pay

The median annual wage for phlebotomists was $30,670 in May 2014.

Job Outlook

Employment of phlebotomists is projected to grow 25 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. Hospitals, diagnostic laboratories, blood donor centers, and other locations will need phlebotomists to perform bloodwork.

State & Area Data

Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for phlebotomists.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of phlebotomists with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about phlebotomists by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.

What Phlebotomists Do

phlebotomists image
Phlebotomists talk with patients and donors so they are less nervous about having their blood drawn.

Phlebotomists draw blood for tests, transfusions, research, or blood donations. Some of them explain their work to patients and provide assistance if patients have adverse reactions after their blood is drawn.

Duties

Phlebotomists typically do the following:

  • Draw blood from patients and blood donors
  • Talk with patients and donors to help them feel less nervous about having their blood drawn
  • Verify a patient’s or donor’s identity to ensure proper labeling of the blood
  • Label the drawn blood for testing or processing
  • Enter patient information into a database
  • Assemble and maintain medical instruments such as needles, test tubes, and blood vials

Phlebotomists primarily draw blood, which is then used for different kinds of medical laboratory testing. In medical and diagnostic laboratories, patient interaction is often only with the phlebotomist. Because all blood samples look the same, phlebotomists must identify and label the sample they have drawn and enter it into a database. Some phlebotomists draw blood for other purposes, such as at blood drives where people donate blood. In order to avoid causing infection or other complications, phlebotomists must keep their work area and instruments clean and sanitary.

Work Environment

phlebotomists image
Phlebotomists work mainly in hospitals, medical and diagnostic laboratories, and doctor’s offices.

Phlebotomists held about 112,700 jobs in 2014. The industries that employed the most phlebotomists were as follows:

Hospitals; state, local, and private 38%
Medical and diagnostic laboratories 28
Other ambulatory healthcare services 18
Offices of physicians 9

Phlebotomists work mainly in hospitals, medical and diagnostic laboratories, blood donor centers, and doctors’ offices. Phlebotomists who collect blood donations sometimes travel to different offices and sites in order to set up mobile donation centers.

Work Schedules

Most phlebotomists work full time. Some phlebotomists, particularly those who work in hospitals and labs, may need to work nights, weekends, and holidays.

How to Become a Phlebotomist

phlebotomists image
Many employers look for phlebotomists who have completed some kind of professional certification.

Phlebotomists typically enter the occupation with a postsecondary nondegree award from a phlebotomy program. Almost all employers look for phlebotomists who have earned professional certification.

Education and Training

Phlebotomists typically enter the occupation with a postsecondary nondegree award from a phlebotomy program. Programs are available from community colleges, vocational schools, or technical schools. These programs usually take less than 1 year to complete and lead to a certificate or diploma. Programs have classroom sessions and laboratory work and include instruction in anatomy, physiology, and medical terminology. Phlebotomists also learn specific procedures on how to identify, label, and track blood samples.

Many phlebotomists enter the occupation with a high school diploma and are trained to be a phlebotomist on the job.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Almost all employers prefer to hire phlebotomists who have earned professional certification.

Several organizations offer certifications for phlebotomists. The National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT), National Healthcareer Association (NHA), the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP), and the American Medical Technologists (AMT) offer Phlebotomy Technician certifications.

Candidates for certification typically need some classroom education, as well as some clinical experience. Certification testing usually includes a written exam and may include practical components, such as drawing blood. Requirements vary by certifying organization. California, Louisiana, Nevada, and Washington require their phlebotomists to be certified.

Important Qualities

Compassion. Some patients or clients are afraid of having their blood drawn, so phlebotomists should be caring in performing their duties.

Detail oriented. Phlebotomists must draw the correct vials of blood for the tests ordered, track vials of blood, and enter data into a database. Attention to detail is necessary; otherwise, the specimens may be misplaced or lost, or a patient may be injured.

Dexterity. Phlebotomists work with their hands, and they must be able to use their equipment efficiently and properly.

Hand–eye coordination. Phlebotomists draw blood from many patients, and they must perform their duties successfully on the first attempt, or their patients will experience discomfort.

Pay

Phlebotomists

Median annual wages, May 2014

Total, all occupations

$35,540

Other healthcare support occupations

$31,540

Phlebotomists

$30,670

 

The median annual wage for phlebotomists was $30,670 in May 2014. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $22,150, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $43,800.

In May 2014, the median annual wages for phlebotomists in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Medical and diagnostic laboratories $32,240
Other ambulatory healthcare services 30,080
Offices of physicians 30,020
Hospitals; state, local, and private 29,820

Most phlebotomists work full time. Some phlebotomists, particularly those who work in hospitals and labs, may need to work nights, weekends, and holidays.

Job Outlook

Phlebotomists

Percent change in employment, projected 2014-24

Phlebotomists

25%

Other healthcare support occupations

19%

Total, all occupations

7%

 

Employment of phlebotomists is projected to grow 25 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. Hospitals, diagnostic laboratories, blood donor centers, and other locations will need phlebotomists to perform bloodwork.

Blood analysis remains an essential function in medical laboratories and hospitals. Demand for phlebotomists will remain high as doctors and other healthcare professionals require bloodwork for analysis and diagnosis.

The number of individuals who have access to health insurance is expected to continue to increase because of federal health insurance reform. There will be greater demand for blood tests and other bloodwork-related services, increasing the need for phlebotomists.

Job Prospects

Job prospects are greatest for phlebotomists who receive certification from one of several reputable organizations, such as the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT), National Healthcareer Association (NHA), the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP), or the American Medical Technologists (AMT).

Employment projections data for phlebotomists, 2014-24
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2014 Projected Employment, 2024 Change, 2014-24 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Phlebotomists

31-9097 112,700 140,800 25 28,100 [XLSX]

State & Area Data

Occupational Employment Statistics (OES)

The Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program produces employment and wage estimates annually for over 800 occupations. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. The link(s) below go to OES data maps for employment and wages by state and area.

Projections Central

Occupational employment projections are developed for all states by Labor Market Information (LMI) or individual state Employment Projections offices. All state projections data are available at www.projectionscentral.com. Information on this site allows projected employment growth for an occupation to be compared among states or to be compared within one state. In addition, states may produce projections for areas; there are links to each state’s websites where these data may be retrieved.

Career InfoNet

America’s Career InfoNet includes hundreds of occupational profiles with data available by state and metro area. There are links in the left-hand side menu to compare occupational employment by state and occupational wages by local area or metro area. There is also a salary info tool to search for wages by zip code.

Similar Occupations

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of phlebotomists.

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION 2014 MEDIAN PAY
Dental assistants

Dental Assistants

Dental assistants perform many tasks, ranging from providing patient care and taking x rays to recordkeeping and scheduling appointments. Their duties vary by state and by the dentists’ offices where they work.

Postsecondary nondegree award $35,390
Medical and clinical laboratory technologists and technicians

Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technologists and Technicians

Medical laboratory technologists (commonly known as medical laboratory scientists) and medical laboratory technicians collect samples and perform tests to analyze body fluids, tissue, and other substances.

See How to Become One $49,310
Medical assistants

Medical Assistants

Medical assistants complete administrative and clinical tasks in the offices of physicians, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities. Their duties vary with the location, specialty, and size of the practice.

Postsecondary nondegree award $29,960
Medical records and health information technicians

Medical Records and Health Information Technicians

Medical records and health information technicians, commonly referred to as health information technicians, organize and manage health information data. They ensure that the information maintains its quality, accuracy, accessibility, and security in both paper files and electronic systems. They use various classification systems to code and categorize patient information for insurance reimbursement purposes, for databases and registries, and to maintain patients’ medical and treatment histories.

Postsecondary nondegree award $35,900
Medical transcriptionists

Medical Transcriptionists

Medical transcriptionists, sometimes referred to as healthcare documentation specialists, listen to voice recordings that physicians and other healthcare workers make and convert them into written reports. They may also review and edit medical documents created using speech recognition technology. Transcriptionists interpret medical terminology and abbreviations in preparing patients’ medical histories, discharge summaries, and other documents.

Postsecondary nondegree award $34,750
Veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caretakers

Veterinary Assistants and Laboratory Animal Caretakers

Veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caretakers look after animals in laboratories, animal hospitals, and clinics. They care for the animals by performing routine tasks under the supervision of scientists, veterinarians, and veterinary technologists and technicians.

High school diploma or equivalent $23,790
Veterinary technologists and technicians

Veterinary Technologists and Technicians

Veterinary technologists and technicians perform medical tests under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian to assist in diagnosing the injuries and illnesses of animals.

Associate's degree $31,070
Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Phlebotomists,
on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/phlebotomists.htm (visited February 06, 2016).

Publish Date: Thursday, December 17, 2015