Bureau of Labor Statistics

Phlebotomists

phlebotomists image
Phlebotomists draw blood for tests, transfusions, research, or blood donations.
Quick Facts: Phlebotomists
2020 Median Pay $36,320 per year
$17.46 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education Postsecondary nondegree award
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training None
Number of Jobs, 2020 129,600
Job Outlook, 2020-30 22% (Much faster than average)
Employment Change, 2020-30 28,800

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 $36,320 in May 2020.

Job Outlook

Employment of phlebotomists is projected to grow 22 percent from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations.

About 19,500 openings for phlebotomists are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

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 129,600 jobs in 2020. The largest employers of phlebotomists were as follows:

Hospitals; state, local, and private 39%
Medical and diagnostic laboratories 31
All other ambulatory healthcare services 15
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), American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP), National Phlebotomy Association, and 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 2020

Total, all occupations

$41,950

Other healthcare support occupations

$36,780

Phlebotomists

$36,320

 

The median annual wage for phlebotomists was $36,320 in May 2020. 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 $26,690, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $50,740.

In May 2020, the median annual wages for phlebotomists in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Outpatient care centers $42,310
Medical and diagnostic laboratories 38,170
Offices of physicians 35,530
Hospitals; state, local, and private 34,880
All other ambulatory healthcare services 34,790

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 2020-30

Phlebotomists

22%

Other healthcare support occupations

16%

Total, all occupations

8%

 

Employment of phlebotomists is projected to grow 22 percent from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations.

About 19,500 openings for phlebotomists are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Employment

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.

Employment projections data for phlebotomists, 2020-30

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

Occupational Title

Phlebotomists

SOC Code31-9097
Employment, 2020129,600
Projected Employment, 2030158,400
Percent Change, 2020-3022
Numeric Change, 2020-3028,800
Employment by IndustryGet data

State & Area Data

Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS)

The Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) 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 2020 MEDIAN PAY
Dental assistants Dental Assistants

Dental assistants provide patient care, take x rays, keep records, and schedule appointments.

Postsecondary nondegree award $41,180
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 $54,180
Medical assistants Medical Assistants

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

Postsecondary nondegree award $35,850
Medical records and health information technicians Medical Records and Health Information Specialists

Medical records and health information specialists organize, manage, and code health information data.

Postsecondary nondegree award $45,240
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 $35,270
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 $29,930
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 $36,260

Contacts for More Info

Last Modified Date: Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Phlebotomists,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/phlebotomists.htm (visited November 27, 2021).

Telephone: 1-202-691-5700 www.bls.gov/ooh Contact OOH

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