Phlebotomist Career Profile

A phlebotomist collect the blood samples for pathology tests and other diagnostic tests. Collecting blood samples is a critically important part of diagnosis, which further helps in determining the exact treatment and medication plan. The most commonly used method for collecting blood samples is the "venipuncture" method. In this method of blood collection, a phlebotomist proceeds as follows:

    1. Applies tourniquet on the patient's arm
    2. Locates an accessible vein
    3. Cleans the area with an antiseptic
    4. Inserts a hypodermic needle and draws out the required amount of blood into a collection container
    5. Removes the needle and applies antiseptic at the point of puncture.

Duties of a Phlebotomist

The basic duties of this job typically include these:

  • Set up the work tray with equipments like needles, disposable containers, blood collection devices, gauze, cotton, tourniquet and alcohol for the specified tests
  • Collect blood through venipuncture or skin puncture, label samples and send samples to the respective testing center
  • Collect other body fluids as directed by the physician and label them with proper identification tags
  • Finish the paperwork accurately and send it for the next stage of the processing
  • Follow the quality control and preservation techniques to prevent the contamination of blood samples until they are tested by a medical professional or pathologist
  • Update the database with the patient's records
  • Sterilize and safely dispose of used equipment like needles or other sharp items
  • Depending on the job arrangements, go on home visits to collect the samples and safely transport such samples.

Work Setting

Phlebotomists usually work in clinics, hospitals, laboratories, health agencies, blood banks or research firms. They have regular shifts and work schedules. Because of the nature of the job, they are susceptible to be infected by contaminated or disease-carrying blood samples.


  • Phlebotomy training is the most essential qualification.
  • You must also become a certified phlebotomist.
  • You might have to take a short course offered by the National Association of Phlebotomists in order to work as pediatric phlebotomist.
  • Good communication skills are essential because you must explain the blood collection procedures to anxious patients.
  • You must remain alert and cautious to prevent the spread of infection from collected blood samples.
  • You must adhere to strict safety protocols, as direct blood contact can be extremely dangerous.
  • Full concentration is necessary while you work. Even a slight distraction can cause needle injury and may cause infection.
  • You should possess the ability to accurately label and send the collected samples to the respective testing center. You should leave no room for contamination or misdiagnosis.

Salary of a Phlebotomist

On average certified phlebotomists earn $27,040 annually (roughly $13 an hour for a 40-hour-per-week job).

Career Advancement

A phlebotomist can be promoted to a supervisory position or to a position which requires administrative skills.

Job Prospects

Job prospects are directly linked to increases in the health care industry. According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, phlebotomist jobs should see no decrease until at least 2012.