How to Become a Phlebotomy Technician

Unlock the Door to this High-Demand Healthcare Profession

Medical worker taking a blood sample

Do you like the idea of drawing blood for tests or research? In the medical field, Phlebotomy Technicians perform an invaluable service by procuring samples for diagnoses and treatments in various medical settings. If you’re interested in playing a critical role in the healthcare industry, then a career as a Phlebotomy Technician could be your ideal path.

Our career guide will teach you everything you need to know about becoming a Phlebotomy Technician, including the educational requirements, certifications, and daily tasks. We will also cover how long it generally takes you to launch into this new career.

Is becoming a Phlebotomy Technician right for you? Click here to see more careers highlighted on our list of the best entry-level medical jobs.

Phlebotomy Technician Definition

What is a Phlebotomy Technician?

Phlebotomy Technicians play a vital role in a patient’s overall health and safety. Phlebotomy Technicians draw blood for tests, research, or donations. They also assist patients who are anxious before their blood draw and help those who experience an adverse reaction.

Phlebotomy Technician: Job Description

What Does a Phlebotomy Technician Do?

Phlebotomy Technicians mainly draw blood, which is then used for medical laboratory testing or procedures, such as transfusions. Because all blood looks similar, Phlebotomy Technicians must thoroughly identify and label the blood they have collected before entering this information into a database.

In addition, Phlebotomy Technicians may also collect urine or other bodily samples. They help instruct patients on procedures for proper collection, ensure that the sample is acceptable, and check that the container is clearly labeled.

Phlebotomy Technician Duties

Some of the day-to-day responsibilities of Phlebotomy Technicians include the following:

  • Drawing blood from patients or blood donors
  • Explaining their work to help relax patients or donors who feel nervous
  • Confirming a patient’s or donor’s identity
  • Labeling the collected blood for testing or processing
  • Labeling sterile containers for other samples, such as urine
  • Entering sample information into a database
  • Assembling, maintaining, and disposing of medical instruments such as needles, test tubes, and blood vials
  • Keeping work areas and equipment clean and sanitary

Their duties may include light administration work like confirming appointments or sending follow-up emails to patients.

Phlebotomy Technician Skills

Most Phlebotomy Technicians possess excellent communication skills and are understanding. We all know someone who gets queasy around the sight of blood, so having a compassionate nature will serve you well as a Phlebotomy Technician.

Phlebotomy technicians are also detail-oriented, as it’s crucial to ensure that a patient’s blood draws are correctly labeled. Having great dexterity to ensure you get the blood draw right the first time will go a long way in making a patient feel at ease. In addition, Phlebotomy Technicians are known for their interpersonal skills and physical stamina. They enjoy working with patients and other healthcare professionals in hospitals or similar settings.

Phlebotomy Technician Hours & Work Environment

The majority of Phlebotomy Technicians work 40 hours per week. If they work in hospitals, they may have to work nights, weekends, and holidays. Phlebotomy Technicians must be careful when handling blood, needles, or other supplies. Injuries can occur if healthcare professionals are not cautious with medical equipment. Additionally, Phlebotomists who collect blood donations may need to travel to different offices or sites.

Group of medical students in a corridor

Phlebotomy Technician Schooling & Certification

How Long Does It Take to Become a Phlebotomy Technician?

What Degree Do You Need to be a Phlebotomy Technician?

Completing the required education to become a Phlebotomy Technician can be done relatively quickly. In fact, you can complete your Phlebotomy Technician diploma in as little as 34 weeks. Some states may require that Phlebotomy Technicians complete an accredited program, obtain a license or certification, or meet other requirements. For specific requirements, be sure to contact your state licensing agency.

Like any worthwhile goal, a career as a Phlebotomy Technician will seem more attainable if it is broken down into individual steps.

Below is a step-by-step guide to the education, experience, and certifications needed to become a Phlebotomy Technician:

1. Enroll in a Phlebotomy Technician Diploma Program

Many Phlebotomy Technicians start this path with a Phlebotomy Technician diploma that can be earned in as little as 34 weeks. You will only need to provide proof of a high school diploma or GED and a passing grade on the Scholastic Level Exam.

2. Obtain Certification with a Major Professional Organization

Once you have earned your diploma, seeking additional certifications would be highly beneficial. Enhance your job and career prospects by pursuing certification with organizations in your state. For specific requirements, contact your state licensing agency.

Some employers may prefer to hire Phlebotomy Technicians who have earned certification from professional organizations. Although requirements vary by organization, they often include education and clinical experience, passing an exam, and practical components. In addition, Phlebotomy Technicians may also need to obtain Basic Life Support certification.

Learn more about certification eligibility with the organizations below:

Certified Phlebotomy Technician I (CPT I) Certificate with the California Department of Public Health:

  • Applicants must submit documentation of academic coursework and clinical training or work experience.
  • There are different requirements for applicants with no phlebotomy experience, applicants with less than 1,040 hours of on-the-job phlebotomy experience, and applicants with 1,040 or more hours of on-the-job phlebotomy experience in the last five years.

Certified Phlebotomy Technician (CPT) with the National Healthcareer Association:

  • High school diploma or GED
  • Graduate of a Phlebotomy Technician program within the last five years OR one year of supervised work experience in a Phlebotomy Technician field within the previous three years.

3. Seek Employment as a Phlebotomy Technician

After you’ve completed a formal program and obtained certification, it’s time to seek employment as a Phlebotomy Technician. You could ask your college’s career services team for assistance—they often help graduates look for open positions—or start applying to jobs on websites like Indeed or LinkedIn.

How Much Does It Cost to Earn a Phlebotomy Technician Diploma?

While some schools might charge $20,000 or more per semester for tuition, keep in mind that this amount doesn’t always include necessities like books, lab fees, etc. However, other schools offer cheaper tuition costs or better financing options. When researching each school, remember to look for accredited institutions that volunteer their tuition rates and additional fees for your education.

Phlebotomy Technician Salary

How Much Do Phlebotomy Technicians Make?

According to BLS data, the average annual salary for Phlebotomy Technicians is about $38,000, which equals about $18.00 in hourly pay. Phlebotomy Technicians in scientific research and development services tend to make more than those in medical and diagnostic laboratories. The top 10% of earners in the field bring home an average of nearly $50,000 annually.

Medical professional drawing blood from a patient

Highest-Paying Industries for Phlebotomy Technicians

This chart shows the top-paying industries for Phlebotomy Technicians:

Industry Average Hourly Pay Average Salary
Grantmaking and Giving Services $27.51 $57,210
Scientific Research and Development $21.29 $44,290
Individual and Family Services $21.16 $44,000
Companies and Enterprises $20.71 $43,080
Outpatient Care Centers $20.48 $42,600

Highest-Paying States for Phlebotomy Technicians

State Average Hourly Pay Average Salary
California $23.11 $48,070
District of Columbia $21.82 $45,390
New York $21.82 $45,390
Massachusetts $21.16 $44,020
Washington $21.05 $43,770

Highest-Paying Cities for Phlebotomy Technicians

City Average Hourly Pay Average Salary
San Jose, California $27.37 $56,940
San Francisco, California $26.47 $55,050
Santa Cruz, California $25.91 $53,880
Santa Barbara, California $25.31 $52,640
Redding, California $24.44 $50,830
Stockton, California $23.94 $49,800
San Diego California $23.53 $48,940
Santa Rosa, California $23.51 $48,900
Sacramento, California $23.37 $48,600
Vallejo, California $23.34 $48,550

What is the Job Outlook for Phlebotomy Technicians?

According to the BLS, employment of Phlebotomy Technicians is projected to increase by 10 percent by 2031. The growing population will likely increase the demand for medical services like blood tests. Blood analysis will always remain an essential component of medical care. Therefore, demand for Phlebotomy Technicians will likely remain high.

Gloved hands holding a syringe

Start Your Dream Career as a Phlebotomy Technician

If you have an insatiable desire to help others—and you’re not squeamish about needles—becoming a Phlebotomy Technician could be a very satisfying career path for you. Learn more about the Phlebotomy Technician Program at Brookline College and get started on the road to a rewarding career.