What Is a Phlebotomist?

graphic of a needle inserted into a pink circle for What Is a Phlebotomist?

If you’ve ever gone to a hospital or medical clinic and had your blood drawn, chances are a phlebotomist did it. A phlebotomist’s primary job is collecting the blood samples requested by healthcare providers for testing. They also perform transfusions and collect blood donations.

Read on to learn more about what a phlebotomist does, and the training required.

What Does A Phlebotomist Do?

Phlebotomists, also called phlebotomy technicians, are valued healthcare professionals because of the vital service they provide. Doctors, nurses, and other health professionals are trained to draw blood, but a phlebotomist is a specialist.

Blood tests are a common and essential part of healthcare staffing since doctors, medical assistants, physician’s assistants, and other medical professionals work with them to screen, diagnose, and monitor the health of their patients.

Their job includes preparing people for blood draws, which involves multiple steps such as:

  • Verifying a patient’s identity to ensure proper labeling.
  • Sanitizing all equipment and making sure they have the correct vials, needles, and other supplies.
  • Taking blood pressure, pulse, and respiration readings.
  • Drawing blood or performing the transfusion.
  • Applying bandages that apply pressure to the area after blood is drawn.
  • Assisting people who may faint or get dizzy after having their blood drawn or receiving a transfusion.
  • Ensuring that each blood sample is safely and securely tracked and stored so it’s viable when delivered to the testing lab or blood bank.


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Not every patient has veins that are easy to find or access, so skill to find them and not hurt the patient in the process is essential. Some people are also afraid of getting blood drawn for a variety of reasons or react to the sight of blood. A skilled phlebotomy technician will make the experience as comfortable as possible for different types of patients while collecting the required samples.

Phlebotomy technicians are trained to draw blood using several different methods. These include drawing blood from a vein, finger pricks, or, for infants, heel pricks.

Phlebotomist Work Environment

Phlebotomists work in a variety of environments. You may find them in medical clinics, doctor’s offices, nursing homes, hospitals, medical labs, research institutes, insurance companies, blood donation centers, private home care, and, of course, hospitals.

Phlebotomy technicians may work day shifts, but they are also needed for evening and night shifts depending on the workplace and its needs. It’s a moderately active job, with time spent standing, interacting with patients, and getting samples ready to send to the lab.

Required Skills and Training for Phlebotomists

Excelling as a phlebotomist requires careful attention to detail, patience, a steady hand, and great interpersonal skills. Some of the essential skills may include:

  • Excellent fine motor skills in inserting needles into hard-to-find veins.
  • Careful attention to detail to properly label, manage, and track each vial. Also, to implement safety precautions every time.
  • Organization to keep supplies stocked and the area safe and clean
  • Compassion and communication skills to comfort and handle a variety of patients with differing needs.

Phlebotomist Educational Requirements

State requirements for phlebotomy technicians vary, but starting in the filed often requires a high school diploma or equivalent and special training. Training programs can last anywhere from two months or to a year. Hiring phlebotomists isn’t typically seasonal or tied to a timeframe.

Training programs are often available at vocational schools and community colleges. To qualify for employment, a technician must often complete instructional and clinical hours. Some states require certification, while others do not.

Phlebotomists can get certified in a single state or go for a national certification, which is more involved but provides more flexibility for future employment.

Phlebotomist Certifications

Seven certifying agencies are well-recognized in the field. Many require work experience before certification, so generally, students achieve certification after they finish their training, get some experience, and pass a test.

Some certifications have additional requirements. The seven agencies are:

Career Outlook and Salary

Phlebotomists are in high demand, and opportunities are expanding at about 10% annually, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Technicians can expect a median salary of around $37,380 or $17.97 an hour.

The education and certification process is not considered to be very expensive, so it can be an excellent way to enter the medical field. As they gain experience, some phlebotomists increase their earning potential through specialized certifications or becoming donor phlebotomy technicians.

Phlebotomists who want to continue their education and training can go on to become medical lab technicians, medical assistants, or registered nurses.

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Are You Looking for the Right Phlebotomist?

Phlebotomists are an invaluable component of a healthcare team. They perform a specialized skill and provide essential patient support. A skilled phlebotomist will make drawing blood an easy experience while ensuring the medical team receives the testing results they need.

If you want to add a skilled phlebotomy technician to your medical team, Insight Global has the experience and expertise to make the hiring process painless and easy. Connect with our team to get started.


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