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HomeArticlesHow to Become a Phlebotomist: The Definitive Guide

How to Become a Phlebotomist: The Definitive Guide

How to Become a Phlebotomist.

What Is a Phlebotomist? 

A phlebotomist is a member of the allied health care field who has received education and training in all facets of venipuncture (also known as blood-drawing techniques) and the procedures that surround it.

In order to diagnose or rule out a particular medical disease or to assess the efficacy of a patient’s treatment, doctors occasionally need to collect blood. Blood samples may be required by insurance companies to evaluate a patient’s health, or blood or plasma may be gathered to help save the lives of others.

Whatever the cause, qualified phlebotomists are in charge of making sure that the procedure is carried out in a sanitary and safe manner, that samples are labeled and stored correctly, that they meet medical prescriptions, and that patients feel at ease throughout.

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Duties of a Phlebotomist

  • Support blood transfusions
  • Utilize sterile vials, needles, and other tools to collect blood
  • Verifying the identity of patients and their personal data
  • Determining the best venipuncture technique for the patient based on factors including age, health, and other factors
  • Choosing the best draw site for the puncture
  • Preparing samples for transmission to a testing facility or blood bank by labeling them
  • Getting hold of billing data, copies of insurance cards, and other data
  • Observing infection control protocols when handling patients and equipment
  • Getting patients ready before taking their blood
  • Reassuring them, outlining the procedure, and answering any questions they may have regarding it
  • Collecting relevant data and securing patient consents for insurance purposes
  • Examining their daily schedule to ensure they have all the supplies needed to meet patient needs.
  • Working with the medical team’s supervisor

Phlebotomists work with a variety of patients, from young children to elderly individuals, and in each situation, they make it a priority to carry out their duties while keeping their patients at ease.

Many patients will feel scared, nervous, in pain, or unable to understand what is happening to them, even if the majority of patients are relaxed. A phlebotomist must be able to maintain composure when dealing with patients who may become upset or hostile.

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Where Do Phlebotomists Work?

  1. Assisted living facilities
  2. Blood donation centers/organizations
  3. Blood drives
  4. Clinics
  5. Community health centers
  6. Doctor’s offices
  7. Emergency clinics
  8. Health maintenance organizations
  9. Hospitals
  10. Independent laboratories
  11. Medical and diagnostic laboratories
  12. Mobile donation centers
  13. Nursing homes
  14. Outpatient care centers
  15. Public health agencies
  16. Surgical centers
  17. VA clinics
  18. Women’s and Men’s health clinics

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A Phlebotomist Salary

In the United States, a phlebotomist makes an average salary of about $34,000 as of 2019. Between $30,000 and $38,000 is the salary range.

This salary range varies depending on a person’s training, credentials, and even the place of employment. You will probably earn more money as a phlebotomist if you work longer because of promotions and raises. Phlebotomists who are just starting out will probably start out making less money.

People who work in smaller hospitals with fewer patients will probably make less money than those who work in larger hospitals. To increase your earning potential, you must first become qualified and maintain your certification.

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Annually National Average Salary: $38,450

Average Annual Salary by State

State Avg. Annual Salary
Alabama $32,010
Alaska $42,630
Arizona $37,040
Arkansas $32,980
California $48,070
Colorado $40,500
Connecticut $41,820
Delaware $42,520
District of Columbia $45,390
Florida $35,710
Georgia $37,480
Idaho $35,120
Illinois $38,570
Indiana $34,980
Iowa $34,050
Kansas $35,020
Kentucky $34,890
Louisiana $32,100
Maine $34,160
Maryland $41,790
Massachusetts $44,020
Michigan $36,250
Minnesota $39,840
Mississippi $33,980
Missouri $35,670
Montana $35,820
Nebraska $34,270
Nevada $35,170
New Hampshire $40,500
New Jersey $40,570
New Mexico $34,460
New York $45,390
North Carolina $36,250
North Dakota $36,760
Ohio $35,770
Oklahoma $33,030
Oregon $41,350
Pennsylvania $37,930
Rhode Island $43,010
South Carolina $34,530
South Dakota $31,440
Tennessee $34,910
Texas $35,340
Utah $34,820
Vermont $37,530
Virginia $37,080
Washington $43,770
West Virginia $32,530
Wisconsin $37,700
Wyoming $34,510
Puerto Rico $20,920

A Phlebotomist Salaries by Place of Employment

According to the BLS, here’s what you can expect to earn as a phlebotomist at various types of workplaces.

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

In some environments, phlebotomists are also eligible for job benefits including health insurance, life insurance, dental insurance, and paid time off for vacations, personal time, and sick leave, and some may be eligible for tuition reimbursement as they pursue higher education.

Highest Paying Cities for Phlebotomists

The demand for qualified a phlebotomist is higher in metropolitan areas, and as a result, those allied healthcare professionals receive more generous compensation. The five top-paying metropolitan cities where phlebotomists can earn the highest salaries are:

  1. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA – $56,940
  2. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA – $55,050
  3. Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA – $53,880
  4. Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA – $52,640
  5. Redding, CA – $50,830

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Highest Paying States for Phlebotomists

What state you’re working in also impacts how much you can make as a phlebotomist. The highest paying states for phlebotomists are:

  1. California – $48,070
  2. District of Columbia – $45,390
  3. New York – $45,390
  4. Massachusetts – $44,020
  5. Washington – $43,770

How to Become a Phlebotomist

Step 1: Obtain a diploma or GED.

  • Basically, this implies earning a GED, your high school equivalent, or finishing high school.
  • For those without a high school diploma, a GED is a general education diploma.
  • To become a certified phlebotomist, you must have either of these.
  • You also need to be aware that you must be at least 18 years old to enroll in any phlebotomist school.
  • This implies that if attending college is not your preferred career path, you won’t need to be accepted.
  • Even though the training program doesn’t call for any more college credits, some colleges allow students to get an Associates degree.
  • This could also result in a profession as a medical assistant.
  • It’s okay if that’s not currently on your radar; phlebotomists can have fantastic jobs.

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Step 2: Enroll in a program for phlebotomy

  • Some programs can be completed in as little as a few months, while others can take up to a year, depending on where you end up.
  • Phlebotomy programs are offered by several institutions, but you can also locate them at independent training facilities.
  • For instance, you can receive on-the-job training to become a phlebotomist if you work in a hospital.
  • You’ll learn about anatomy, physiology, patient care, laboratory procedures, and—most importantly—how to draw blood in phlebotomy programs.

Step 3: Acquire Knowledge

That’s correct, a phlebotomy program will mostly provide clinical instruction. Without any kind of training, no one wants you to go about poking people with needles, right? As a result, you will initially work with test individuals whom you will need to prick with needles to ensure that you are performing the task correctly. Following some training, you’ll begin assisting real patients. The majority of the time, a lead phlebotomist oversees this training.

Step 4: Get Certified 

You should consider certification once your study is through and you begin seeking for work. Keep in mind that many employers won’t consider applicants who lack certification. Depending on where you live, you can take certification examinations at both the state and federal levels. Certification is necessary to work in states like Louisiana, Nevada, and California.

Although certification is not required in some places, it will increase your work prospects. It’s feasible that in the future, certification will be necessary in every state. Remember that every three years, you will also need to renew your certification.

Step 5: Look for Work

That’s accurate. You’ll need to look for employment once you’re certified, and occasionally even before. Once you complete your program, you will be able to find employment in many different fields. Since there is a strong demand for them, finding a job as a phlebotomist technician in your area should be simple.

You might also inquire about job opportunities with the folks you collaborated with during the program. Just keep in mind that most businesses prefer certified candidates, so if you aren’t one yet, make sure you have plans to become one.

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You don’t need a lot of formal schooling to start a career in phlebotomy, which is one of its many benefits. You can typically enroll in a phlebotomy program at a community college or locate a private program through a hospital or other clinics. You will learn topics like fundamental venipuncture procedures, butterfly techniques, fingerstick methods, and capillary punctures while in the phlebotomy program. All of the various punctures can be applied to various individuals.

Newborns typically undergo capillary punctures due to their small size. The elderly are treated with butterfly treatments.

Additionally, you should confirm that laboratory procedures are covered in the program you are enrolled in. This can help you comprehend lab procedures, safety measures, and other useful information.

You may also discover the following via participating in a training program:

  • How to make the process more comfortable for the patients
  • Verify someone’s identify to guarantee that blood is labeled properly.
  • Identify the blood samples.
  • Input data into the database.
  • Preparing samples for testing
  • After completing the program, there are no restrictions on where you can work or the kinds of jobs that are available to you.


The majority of states do not require certification in order to find employment.

Nevertheless, obtaining a certification is still crucial, and the majority of firms won’t consider hiring uncertified individuals. The process of becoming certified is quick and will lead to several chances.

There are various locations where you can receive a certification:

American Society for Clinical Pathology

You must possess a high school diploma or its equivalent and have completed a phlebotomy program within the last five years in order to join the American Society for Clinical Pathology. Anatomy, physiology, specimen collection, processing, and handling, as well as lab procedures, must all be covered in your classroom training.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendment of 1988 must be in effect at the lab where you get training, per ASCP requirements. This guarantees that the laboratory you work in is modern and secure.

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American Society for Phlebotomy Technicians

You must have worked as a phlebotomist either full-time for six months or part-time for one year in order to become certified through the ASPT.

  • A letter stating that you are in good standing with the employer from a health care practitioner is also required.
  • The seal of the boss you are employed by.
  • Five documented skin punctures and 100 documented hours.

Phlebotomy Association of America

There are less requirements with the National Phlebotomy Association than with the others.

  • You’ll require venipuncture skills.
  • As well as a 160-hour classroom requirement and a practical clinical internship.

National Health Care Association

  • The National Health Care Association mandates that you do 10 capillary sticks and 30 venipunctures on live people.
  • Additionally, you must possess a high school diploma.

National Center for Competency Testing

  • You must be enrolled in or have completed a phlebotomy program in order to become certified with the National Center for Competency Testing.
  • Have worked as a phlebotomy technician for a full year in a position that can be verified.
  • Additionally, you must have finished your phlebotomy training.

What Is the Career Outlook for Phlebotomists?

You may be assured that you will be able to find secure employment in a variety of work situations and hours because there is a significant need for skilled phlebotomists and that demand is anticipated to increase over the next few years.

Phlebotomy is ranked seventh among careers supporting healthcare, and it is the fourth-best non-college job according to U.S. News & World Report. It’s no surprise that phlebotomy was ranked as the 40th best job when you consider the level of career satisfaction it offers and the assurance of work security based on necessity.

Phlebotomists are in high demand, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that demand will increase by 10% over the next ten years. This reflects the expanding need for healthcare services, which is present in a variety of corporate contexts as well as in hospitals, blood banks, clinical laboratories, and doctor’s offices.

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What Are the Requirements for Phlebotomists’ Continuing Education?

Learning never ends, therefore it’s critical for you to keep up your understanding of the industry’s best practices as a phlebotomist.

Each state has its own laws and guidelines on continuing education, typically requiring six credit hours annually.

These courses are available online, at community colleges and vocational institutions, and many phlebotomists go back to the course where they first received their certification. The National Phlebotomy Association additionally stipulates that you pass a test and complete courses in order to renew your certification.

FAQs on How to Become a Phlebotomist

What is a certified phlebotomist?

A certified phlebotomist is someone who draws blood samples from patients for tests, donations, or other medical reasons.

Is it worth it to become a Phlebotomist?

Phlebotomist salaries have been on the rise over the last several years, and in 2021 the median salary for the profession was $37,380. In addition to salary, phlebotomists may earn compensation in the form of benefits, and they get the additional reward of knowing that their work is contributing to patient care and wellbeing.

How much does it cost to become a certified phlebotomist?

Training to become a phlebotomist can be expensive because there are several different things that you’ll have to do in order to become certified.

What’s the difference between a Phlebotomist and a Phlebotomy Technician?

There is no difference between the two job titles. They are used interchangeably to describe professionals trained and responsible for the same tasks.

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