How Can I Become a Phlebotomist?

Becoming a phlebotomist requires understanding the techniques and procedures used in drawing blood. College training programs can teach you these skills in less than a year. After your training is complete, you can find work as a phlebotomist in hospitals, laboratories, and blood banks. Schools offering Clinical Laboratory Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

Phlebotomists are clinical technicians who take blood samples from patients for the purpose of testing or transfusion. Phlebotomists are employed at health care locations like the following:

  • Clinics
  • Hospitals
  • Laboratories
  • Blood banks
  • Physician offices

To become a phlebotomist, you need to take training courses in phlebotomy. Most phlebotomists choose to earn national certification after completing training.

Important Facts About This Occupation

Median Salary (2018)$34,480
Job Outlook (2016-2026)25% growth
Key SkillsCompassion, detail oriented, dexterity
Similar OccupationMedical assistant

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education and Training

Many community colleges and vocational schools around the country offer certificate programs or associate degree programs in phlebotomy. Certificate programs usually last one or two semesters and teach students the techniques and procedures used for drawing blood and handling specimens; associate degree programs are similar but require two years of study and add general education classes to the core curriculum. In the foundational courses, students learn about the human circulatory system, safety and quality assurance procedures in laboratory environments, medical ethics, and infection control. Most college training programs include an externship where students gain hands-on experience supervised by professional phlebotomists in a local clinic or lab.

Depending on location and employer, you may also have the option of getting on-the-job training. Some companies will hire phlebotomist applicants with no training or experience and teach them on-site. Phlebotomists who are trained this way learn many of the same things taught in college classes, and this work experience can substitute for formal education when seeking certification or future employment.


Though certification isn't legally required in most states, many employers want phlebotomists to be certified. After completing training, you can apply to an organization such as the American Society of Clinical Pathologists or the American Certification Agency for Healthcare Professionals. After your application is processed, you will be given a multiple-choice exam on the subjects you've studied. Upon passing the exam, you can begin looking for work as a certified phlebotomist.

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