Bureau of Labor Statistics

Phlebotomists

phlebotomists image
Phlebotomists draw blood for tests, transfusions, research, or blood donations.
Quick Facts: Phlebotomists
2018 Median Pay $34,480 per year
$16.58 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education Postsecondary nondegree award
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training None
Number of Jobs, 2018 128,300
Job Outlook, 2018-28 23% (Much faster than average)
Employment Change, 2018-28 29,500

Summary

What Phlebotomists Do

Phlebotomists draw blood for tests, transfusions, research, or blood donations.

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 $34,480 in May 2018.

Job Outlook

Employment of phlebotomists is projected to grow 23 percent from 2018 to 2028, 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
  • Keep work areas clean and sanitary

Phlebotomists primarily draw blood, which is then used for different kinds of medical laboratory testing. In medical and diagnostic laboratories, patient interaction is sometimes only with the phlebotomist. Because all blood samples look the same, phlebotomists must carefully 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 128,300 jobs in 2018. The largest employers of phlebotomists were as follows:

Hospitals; state, local, and private 37%
Medical and diagnostic laboratories 33
All other ambulatory healthcare services 14
Offices of physicians 7
Outpatient care centers 2

Phlebotomists who collect blood donations sometimes travel to different offices and sites in order to set up mobile donation centers. They also sometimes travel to long-term care centers or patients’ homes.

Injuries and Illnesses

Phlebotomists often stand for long periods, and must be careful when handling blood, needles, and other medical supplies. Injuries may occur if they are not careful with medical equipment.

Work Schedules

Most phlebotomists work full time. Phlebotomists 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. Certification programs involve classroom sessions and laboratory work, and they include instruction in anatomy, physiology, and medical terminology.

Some phlebotomists enter the occupation with a high school diploma and are trained to be a phlebotomist on the job. No matter their education level, phlebotomists also receive specific instructions on how to identify, label, and track blood samples.

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), the National Phlebotomy Association, 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.

Physical stamina. Phlebotomists are on their feet for long periods, and must continue to take accurate blood samples throughout their workday.

Pay

Phlebotomists

Median annual wages, May 2018

Total, all occupations

$38,640

Other healthcare support occupations

$34,830

Phlebotomists

$34,480

 

The median annual wage for phlebotomists was $34,480 in May 2018. 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 $25,020, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $49,060.

In May 2018, the median annual wages for phlebotomists in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Outpatient care centers $39,420
Medical and diagnostic laboratories 36,060
Offices of physicians 33,110
Hospitals; state, local, and private 33,040
All other ambulatory healthcare services 32,870

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

Job Outlook

Phlebotomists

Percent change in employment, projected 2018-28

Phlebotomists

23%

Other healthcare support occupations

17%

Total, all occupations

5%

 

Employment of phlebotomists is projected to grow 23 percent from 2018 to 2028, 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.

In addition to blood analysis, phlebotomists are necessary for blood collection, either at mobile blood centers or dedicated donation centers. These phlebotomists may be especially busy during a health emergency, which can correspond with heightened interest in blood donations.

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), the National Phlebotomy Association, and the American Medical Technologists (AMT).

Employment projections data for phlebotomists, 2018-28

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

Occupational Title

Phlebotomists

SOC Code31-9097
Employment, 2018128,300
Projected Employment, 2028157,800
Percent Change, 2018-2823
Numeric Change, 2018-2829,500
Employment by IndustryGet data

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.

CareerOneStop

CareerOneStop 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 2018 MEDIAN PAY
Dental assistants

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Postsecondary nondegree award $38,660
Medical and clinical laboratory technologists and technicians

Clinical Laboratory Technologists and Technicians

Clinical laboratory technologists and technicians collect samples and perform tests to analyze body fluids, tissue, and other substances.

Bachelor's degree $52,330
Medical assistants

Medical Assistants

Medical assistants complete administrative and clinical tasks in hospitals, offices of physicians, and other healthcare facilities.

Postsecondary nondegree award $33,610
Medical records and health information technicians

Medical Records and Health Information Technicians

Medical records and health information technicians organize and manage health information data.

Postsecondary nondegree award $40,350
Medical transcriptionists

Medical Transcriptionists

Medical transcriptionists listen to voice recordings that physicians and other healthcare workers make and convert them into written reports.

Postsecondary nondegree award $34,770
Veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caretakers

Veterinary Assistants and Laboratory Animal Caretakers

Veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caretakers handle routine animal care and help scientists, veterinarians, and others with their daily tasks.

High school diploma or equivalent $27,540
Veterinary technologists and technicians

Veterinary Technologists and Technicians

Veterinary technologists and technicians do medical tests that help diagnose animals’ injuries and illnesses.

Associate's degree $34,420

Contacts for More Info

Last Modified Date: Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Phlebotomists,
on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/phlebotomists.htm (visited November 20, 2019).

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