For anyone who’s ever had their blood taken, you’ll remember how easy or not easy it was for your phlebotomist to get blood. A skilled phlebotomist can go a long way into making that needle jab a lot more pleasant for their patient.

Phlebotomists are medical specialists who are responsible for aspects surrounding and related to venipuncture. The act of blood drawing is more complex than simply  jabbing a needing into someone’s arm.

What do phlebotomists do?

Phlebotomists are trained in venipuncture and handle all aspects of collecting, categorizing, and storing blood samples. Blood draws are often required for medical diagnoses, insurance purposes, or investigative medicine.

Drawing blood from an infant is different from drawing blood from someone with an advanced age. Phlebotomists are trained to identify the correct method and site for collecting samples based on a patient’s individual condition.

They also are trained in methods for proper safety and sterilization procedures, labeling, storing, and transporting samples. They also must maintain the equipment and supplies they use. Phlebotomists can work in a variety of settings:

  • Doctor’s offices
  • Blood collection clinics
  • Mobile donation centers
  • Laboratories
  • Surgical centers
  • Hospitals
  • Assisted living facilities

Phlebotomist requirements

While phlebotomy is a major part of medical processes, it does not require lengthy schooling to get started. Phlebotomy training consists of completing a phlebotomist certification program which typically takes about a year, or having relevant work experience as defined by the certification. Candidates for these programs must have a GED or high school diploma.

After training, a candidate must take and pass a certification exam. There are national certification exams, but some states do require a specific state-specific certification.

Who can benefit from phlebotomy certifications?

If you plan to be in the medical field as a career, getting certified as a phlebotomist is a good way to get your foot in the door. On the other hand, if you’re already a nurse, EMT, or CNA, adding a phlebotomist certification to your repertoire can make you more competitive in the job market.

According to Zippia, 83% of phlebotomists are female and the average age is 40 years old.

Are there different types of phlebotomy certifications?

Yes. There are different levels of certification, CPT 1, CPT2 and as well as several different governing bodies. There are also different programs and phlebotomy training schools. Here’s a list of common phlebotomy certifications:

Phlebotomist job requirements and outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the average annual salary for phlebotomists at $37,380 as of May 2021. BLS also projects the job growth at 10% between 2021 and 2031.  ZipRecruiter has the top 90th percentile of phlebotomists earning $52,00 annually.