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Summary

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Video transcript available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3c4BlLri_U.
Quick Facts: Phlebotomists
2021 Median Pay $37,380 per year
$17.97 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education Postsecondary nondegree award
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training None
Number of Jobs, 2021 135,500
Job Outlook, 2021-31 10% (Faster than average)
Employment Change, 2021-31 13,900

What Phlebotomists Do

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

Work Environment

Phlebotomists are employed in a variety of settings, including hospitals, medical and diagnostic laboratories, blood donor centers, and doctors’ offices.

How to Become a Phlebotomist

Phlebotomists typically enter the occupation with a certificate from a postsecondary phlebotomy program, but some qualify with a high school diploma and on-the-job training. Employers may prefer to hire candidates who have earned professional certification.

Pay

The median annual wage for phlebotomists was $37,380 in May 2021.

Job Outlook

Employment of phlebotomists is projected to grow 10 percent from 2021 to 2031, faster than the average for all occupations.

About 21,500 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 About this section

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

Phlebotomists draw blood for purposes such as tests, research, or donations. They help patients or donors who are anxious before or have an adverse reaction after the blood draw.

Duties

Phlebotomists typically do the following:

  • Draw blood from patients or blood donors
  • Explain their work to help relax patients or donors who feel nervous about having blood drawn
  • Verify a patient’s or donor’s identity
  • Label the collected blood for testing or processing
  • Label sterile containers for other samples, such as urine, and instruct patients on proper collection procedures.
  • Enter sample information into a database
  • Assemble, maintain, and dispose of medical instruments such as needles, test tubes, and blood vials
  • Keep work areas and equipment clean and sanitary

Phlebotomists primarily draw blood, which is then used for different kinds of medical laboratory testing or for procedures, such as transfusions. In medical and diagnostic laboratories, patients sometimes interact only with the phlebotomist. In donation centers or locations that have blood drives, phlebotomists draw blood from donors. Because all blood looks the same, phlebotomists must carefully identify and label the blood they have collected and enter the information into a database.

In addition to drawing blood, phlebotomists also may collect urine or other samples. They instruct patients on procedures for proper collection and ensure that the sample is acceptable and clearly labeled in its container.

Phlebotomists must keep their work area and instruments clean and sanitary to avoid causing infections or other complications. Some phlebotomists also ship or transport blood or other samples to different locations.

Work Environment About this section

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

Phlebotomists held about 135,500 jobs in 2021. The largest employers of phlebotomists were as follows:

Hospitals; state, local, and private 36%
Medical and diagnostic laboratories 35
All other ambulatory healthcare services 14
Offices of physicians 8
Outpatient care centers 1

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

Phlebotomists may be required to stand for long periods of time.

Injuries and Illnesses

Phlebotomists 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 About this section

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

Phlebotomists typically enter the occupation with a certificate from a postsecondary phlebotomy program, but some qualify with a high school diploma and on-the-job training. Employers may prefer to hire candidates who have earned professional certification.

Education and Training

Phlebotomists typically enter the occupation with a postsecondary nondegree award from a phlebotomy program. These programs are available from community colleges, vocational schools, or technical schools and usually take less than 1 year to complete. They involve instruction in anatomy, physiology, and medical terminology and laboratory work and lead to a certificate.

The National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS) and the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) are among the organizations that accredit phlebotomy education programs.

Some employers hire candidates with a high school diploma and train them on the job. Whether through formal education or employer-provided training, the training that all phlebotomists receive includes instruction on how to identify, label, and track blood samples.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

States may require that phlebotomists complete an accredited training program, have a license or certification, or meet other requirements. For specific requirements, contact your state licensing agency.

Some employers prefer to hire phlebotomists who have earned professional certification, such as those offered by professional organizations. Requirements vary by organization but may include education and clinical experience, passing an exam, and practical components, such as drawing blood.

Phlebotomists also may need to have Basic Life Support certification. Those who transport samples may need a driver’s license.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Phlebotomists must be able to clearly explain procedures and provide instruction to patients.

Compassion. Some patients become anxious about having blood drawn, so phlebotomists should be considerate in performing their duties.

Detail oriented. Phlebotomists must draw the correct amount of blood for the tests ordered, carefully label the vials collected, and enter information into a database to avoid misplacing samples or injuring patients.

Dexterity. Phlebotomists must be able to use their equipment efficiently to minimize patients’ discomfort.

Interpersonal skills. Phlebotomists work with other members of the medical staff and must interact with them cooperatively.

Physical stamina. Phlebotomists stand for long periods and are often on the move throughout the workday.

Pay About this section

Phlebotomists

Median annual wages, May 2021

Total, all occupations

$45,760

Phlebotomists

$37,380

Other healthcare support occupations

$37,370

 

The median annual wage for phlebotomists was $37,380 in May 2021. 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 $28,990, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $48,490.

In May 2021, the median annual wages for phlebotomists in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Outpatient care centers $38,220
Medical and diagnostic laboratories 38,040
Hospitals; state, local, and private 36,980
Offices of physicians 36,410
All other ambulatory healthcare services 35,360

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

Job Outlook About this section

Phlebotomists

Percent change in employment, projected 2021-31

Other healthcare support occupations

12%

Phlebotomists

10%

Total, all occupations

5%

 

Employment of phlebotomists is projected to grow 10 percent from 2021 to 2031, faster than the average for all occupations.

About 21,500 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

The growing population, with its rising share of older people, will continue to increase demand for medical services, including blood testing.

Blood analysis remains an essential part of medical care, as it is used to check for a wide range of issues. Therefore, demand for phlebotomists will remain high as doctors and other healthcare professionals require bloodwork for analysis and diagnosis.

Employment projections data for phlebotomists, 2021-31
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2021 Projected Employment, 2031 Change, 2021-31 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

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

Phlebotomists

31-9097 135,500 149,400 10 13,900 Get data

State & Area Data About this section

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 OEWS 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 About this section

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

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION Help on Entry-Level Education 2021 MEDIAN PAY Help on Median Pay
Dental assistants Dental Assistants

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

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 $57,800
Medical assistants Medical Assistants

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

Postsecondary nondegree award $37,190
Medical records and health information technicians Medical Records Specialists

Medical records specialists compile, process, and maintain patient files.

Postsecondary nondegree award $46,660
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 $30,100
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 $29,780
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 $36,850
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 September 23, 2022).

Last Modified Date: Thursday, September 22, 2022

What They Do

The What They Do tab describes the typical duties and responsibilities of workers in the occupation, including what tools and equipment they use and how closely they are supervised. This tab also covers different types of occupational specialties.

Work Environment

The Work Environment tab includes the number of jobs held in the occupation and describes the workplace, the level of physical activity expected, and typical hours worked. It may also discuss the major industries that employed the occupation. This tab may also describe opportunities for part-time work, the amount and type of travel required, any safety equipment that is used, and the risk of injury that workers may face.

How to Become One

The How to Become One tab describes how to prepare for a job in the occupation. This tab can include information on education, training, work experience, licensing and certification, and important qualities that are required or helpful for entering or working in the occupation.

Pay

The Pay tab describes typical earnings and how workers in the occupation are compensated—annual salaries, hourly wages, commissions, tips, or bonuses. Within every occupation, earnings vary by experience, responsibility, performance, tenure, and geographic area. For most profiles, this tab has a table with wages in the major industries employing the occupation. It does not include pay for self-employed workers, agriculture workers, or workers in private households because these data are not collected by the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) survey, the source of BLS wage data in the OOH.

State & Area Data

The State and Area Data tab provides links to state and area occupational data from the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) program, state projections data from Projections Central, and occupational information from the Department of Labor's CareerOneStop.

Job Outlook

The Job Outlook tab describes the factors that affect employment growth or decline in the occupation, and in some instances, describes the relationship between the number of job seekers and the number of job openings.

Similar Occupations

The Similar Occupations tab describes occupations that share similar duties, skills, interests, education, or training with the occupation covered in the profile.

Contacts for More Information

The More Information tab provides the Internet addresses of associations, government agencies, unions, and other organizations that can provide additional information on the occupation. This tab also includes links to relevant occupational information from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET).

2021 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics survey. In May 2021, the median annual wage for all workers was $45,760.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

Work experience in a related occupation

Work experience that is commonly considered necessary by employers, or is a commonly accepted substitute for more formal types of training or education.

Number of Jobs, 2021

The employment, or size, of this occupation in 2021, which is the base year of the 2021-31 employment projections.

Job Outlook, 2021-31

The projected percent change in employment from 2021 to 2031. The average growth rate for all occupations is 5 percent.

Employment Change, 2021-31

The projected numeric change in employment from 2021 to 2031.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Employment Change, projected 2021-31

The projected numeric change in employment from 2021 to 2031.

Growth Rate (Projected)

The percent change of employment for each occupation from 2021 to 2031.

Projected Number of New Jobs

The projected numeric change in employment from 2021 to 2031.

Projected Growth Rate

The projected percent change in employment from 2021 to 2031.

2021 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics survey. In May 2021, the median annual wage for all workers was $45,760.