How to Become a Phlebotomist

Brandi Glass
8 min read
A Woman Getting Her Blood Drawn

In becoming a phlebotomist, you’ll embark on a career that is both challenging and rewarding.

Phlebotomists play a crucial part in patient diagnosis and treatment. As a phlebotomist, you'll be responsible for ensuring the accuracy and quality of blood samples — something that is critical for diagnosing diseases and monitoring patient health. You'll also interact with patients and provide compassionate care at a time when many are anxious or afraid.

Plus, phlebotomist skills are in high demand, and phlebotomist salaries can also be attractive.

If you’re considering a career as a phlebotomist, keep reading. We’ll break down everything you need to know about how to become a phlebotomist, from typical phlebotomist wages to building your phlebotomist resume.

What is a Phlebotomist?

A phlebotomist is a healthcare professional who is trained to draw blood from patients for medical testing, transfusions, donations or research purposes.

But there’s far more to the role than this phlebotomist definition. As a phlebotomist, you put patients at ease and help ensure they receive quality care. You’re the human face that makes blood samples — and their results — a little less scary for people of all ages.

By performing your duties with empathy and precision, you contribute to a better quality of healthcare, better patient outcomes and a better patient experience.

What Does a Phlebotomist Do?

A phlebotomist is responsible for collecting and processing blood samples from patients for laboratory testing, transfusions and research.

But what are the tasks behind this phlebotomist definition? On a day-to-day level, phlebotomists:

  • Properly identify patients and prepare the equipment to safely draw blood
  • Follow strict hygiene and safety protocols to prevent contamination or the spread of diseases and infections
  • Process specimens
  • Label samples
  • Maintain records

How to Become a Phlebotomist

Phlebotomy is an accessible career path for anyone interested in working in healthcare. The role can be highly fulfilling, and there are few barriers to entry. But if you’re wondering exactly how to become a phlebotomist, keep reading.

Only four states — California, Louisiana, Nevada, and Washington — have formal phlebotomist requirements, including phlebotomist schooling. However, most employers prefer trained and qualified phlebotomist applicants. Completing phlebotomist schooling at a nearby college will reassure healthcare centers that you can safely and effectively draw blood samples, respect patient privacy and keep good records.

Once you have completed your phlebotomist training, it's time to start crafting your phlebotomist resume and cover letter. Your phlebotomist cover letter should explain why you are interested in the role along with the skills and qualities you can bring to it.

As for your resume, it should detail your education and training, as well as any relevant work or volunteer experience you have. Our phlebotomist resume templates come with recruiter-approved phrasing to help you highlight your best features.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Phlebotomist?

In most US states, the only thing you need to become a phlebotomist is a job offer — meaning that, in theory, you could become a phlebotomist in days. However, you’ll stand the best chance of receiving attractive job offers if you undergo formal phlebotomist training.

How Long is Phlebotomist Training?

Phlebotomist schooling can take as little as one month or as long as a year to complete, depending on the program you opt for. Your formal phlebotomist training may also be complemented by informal mentorship and training in the workplace.

A Day in the Life of a Phlebotomist

Close-up of a Woman Holding Vials with Blood

A typical day in the life of a phlebotomist might begin with reviewing patient records and preparing equipment for blood draws. Phlebotomists must ensure that they have the necessary supplies on hand, including needles, tubes and other equipment.

A phlebotomist’s day typically starts early, as blood samples are normally taken in the morning so that it’s easier for patients to fast beforehand. Of course, this also depends on where the phlebotomist is working. In the emergency room, phlebotomists should be prepared for blood draws at all hours of the day.

After preparing their equipment, the phlebotomist will likely greet patients and explain the procedure, answering any questions they may have and helping to calm any fears or anxieties. During the blood draw, the phlebotomist will use their skills to find a suitable vein, determine the appropriate venipuncture technique for the patient and then collect the sample. They will then label this sample and send it to the lab for analysis.

Throughout the day, phlebotomists must also manage patient records and maintain a clean and sterile work environment. They may interact with other healthcare professionals, such as nurses and doctors, to coordinate care for patients. And at the end of the day, they’ll leave everything organized so that the process can begin again the next day.

Phlebotomist Salary: How Much Does a Phlebotomist Make?

The average phlebotomist salary is $37,380 per year, according to the latest data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, many factors can affect your phlebotomist salary. These include:

  • Location
  • Experience
  • Healthcare setting
  • Shift times and structures
  • People skills
  • Other clinical skills

For example, if you work overnight shifts, you could command a higher hourly rate for them.

Phlebotomist Salary Ranges

Phlebotomist salaries can vary significantly, with most phlebotomists earning between $28,990 and $48,490 (according to BLS data). The highest-paid phlebotomists typically work in outpatient care centers — although there are always exceptions to that rule!

Traveling phlebotomists also report higher salaries. Their average salary is $49,207, with most mobile phlebotomists earning between $31,000 and $79,000 a year.

With such dramatic differences in phlebotomist salary ranges, investing time in building a strong resume can pay off. A well-written resume will help you stand out to employers so you can receive the job offer you want, whether that’s in a private hospital, blood bank or as a traveling phlebotomist.

Our phlebotomist resume templates will help you make an excellent first impression. What’s more, our resume builder will walk you through adapting your template to highlight your unique skills and experiences, complete with recruiter-approved phrasing.

How Much Does a Phlebotomist Make an Hour?

Phlebotomists earn $17.97 per hour on average, according to BLS data. However, salaries can vary depending on the phlebotomist's level of experience, location, and type of healthcare facility they work in. With additional training and certification, phlebotomists can increase their earning potential and advance their careers in the healthcare industry.

Is Becoming a Phlebotomist a Good Fit for Me?

Embarking on a career as a phlebotomist requires a unique set of skills and traits. Some of the essential phlebotomist requirements include:

  • Compassion and empathy: drawing blood can be a stressful and scary experience for some patients, but a kind word and friendly face will help reassure them
  • Communication skills: you'll need to put patients at ease and explain the procedure to them, along with checking their identities and whether they fasted beforehand
  • Attention to detail: collecting and labeling blood samples requires a high level of accuracy and attention to detail
  • Organizational skills: with numerous blood samples to collect, you’ll need to stay organized
  • Dexterity: the better your dexterity, the easier it will be to draw blood without causing discomfort to either you or the patient
  • A respect for rules and guidelines: phlebotomists are governed by extensive rules and laws that help protect patients’ data and health
  • Tech-savviness: strong computer skills will help you use medical software correctly

Once you’ve started training as a phlebotomist, you’ll learn other essential phlebotomist skills such as needle placement and the butterfly method for venipuncture. But as long as you possess the above skills, you’ll find that you’re well-suited to a career as a phlebotomist.

Where Can a Phlebotomist Work?

Phlebotomists work in a variety of healthcare settings, such as hospitals, clinics, laboratories, blood banks, assisted living facilities, private practices and mobile donation centers. You’ll be able to find a workplace that suits you, whether you prefer the hustle and bustle of the emergency room or the flexible hours of a private practice.

There’s strong demand for phlebotomists all over the US — and internationally! And since most states do not require certification, you can easily relocate mid-career. Your experience and training will remain attractive to employers, allowing you to find a new place of work. You can also work as a traveling phlebotomist, moving from state to state as you sign short-term contracts.

How to Apply for Phlebotomist Jobs

Once you’ve completed your training, applying for phlebotomist jobs is as simple as creating a targeted resume and brushing up on your interview skills.

You should:

  1. Find phlebotomist roles through online job boards, healthcare staffing agencies and hospital websites,
  2. Create a phlebotomist resume that highlights your education, training, and experience in the field. Be sure to mention all your phlebotomist skills, such as venipuncture, patient care and attention to detail.
  3. Write a phlebotomist cover letter that explains why you are interested in the job and what you can bring to the role.
  4. Practice answering common interview questions so you can impress employers.

A well-written resume is key to achieving attractive phlebotomist job offers. Our resume templates will help you write a polished phlebotomist resume that highlights your training, experience and skills. And, it takes just 10 minutes to build.

Phlebotomist resume template

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

These questions come up time and again by people wondering how to become a phlebotomist.

How to Become a Traveling Phlebotomist

To become a traveling phlebotomist, you’ll need to complete phlebotomist training and certification, gain experience in the field, and be willing to travel. You may also need a driver's license or reliable transportation. Building a network of contacts could help you achieve short-term phlebotomist contracts.

How to Become a Phlebotomist Technician

In most US states, becoming a phlebotomist technician is as simple as receiving a job offer from a healthcare center. But to help you achieve this, you’ll want to complete a phlebotomy training program — and ideally, one that offers certification. Employers also often want a high school diploma or GED.

What Other Jobs Can a Phlebotomist Do?

Experienced phlebotomists can take on various roles, including as a phlebotomy instructor or phlebotomy supervisor. Phlebotomists are also well-positioned to train as registered nurses, veterinary technicians, EMTs, lab assistants and more. Your phlebotomy training can unlock the door to a wide range of fulfilling careers.

How Much Does a Phlebotomist Make in Florida?

A phlebotomist can expect to earn $43,227 in Florida. There’s little variation in average salaries across the state, with Miami-based phlebotomists reporting earning $43,561 on average, Tampa-based phlebotomists earning $43,135 and phlebotomists in Orlando earning $$42,732 per year.

How Much Do Phlebotomists Make in Ohio?

The average phlebotomist salary in Ohio is $46,967, which breaks down to $18.06 per hour. The typical phlebotomist salary range in the state is $32,518 to $67,837. Higher salaries are reported in Cuyahoga Falls and Toledo.

How Much Does a Phlebotomist Make in Georgia?

A Georgia-based phlebotomist can expect to earn $44,314 a year. Most phlebotomists in the state earn between $32,013 and $61,343.

How Much Does a Phlebotomist Make in California?

The average phlebotomist salary in California is $51,448, with higher salaries being offered in Sacramento and San Francisco. Most phlebotomists in California earn between $37,295 and $70,972 — but it’s possible to earn even more if you have the right skills and experience.

How Much Does a Phlebotomist Make in Texas?

The average salary for a phlebotomist in Texas is $40,669, with most phlebotomists earning between $30,792 and $53,714. Typical phlebotomist salaries tend to be higher in bigger cities, including Austin and Dallas.

Get started with Rocket Resume today to easily handcraft your phlebotomist resume!