What Does a Phlebotomist Do?
If the sight of blood doesn’t make you squeamish, then a career as a phlebotomist might be for you. They draw and prepare blood for medical testing, transfusions or donation. Phlebotomists collect blood through veins (venipuncture) or finger pricks (capillary sample). They work in hospitals, outpatient care facilities, diagnostic laboratories and blood donation centers. Night and weekend shifts are often required.
While the job growth for all occupations in the U.S. is expected to increase about 4% from 2019 to 2029, the opportunities for phlebotomists is expected to grow a remarkable 17% during that same time period.
- Explain blood draw or transfusion process to patients
- Draw blood
- Label the drawn blood for testing or processing
- Assist patients who experience adverse reactions
- Enter patient information into a database
- Maintain medical instruments such as needles, test tubes and vials
- Keep work areas clean and sanitary
Most employers look for candidates who have completed a postsecondary phlebotomy program. Programs are available from community colleges and technical schools. These programs usually take less than a year to complete and lead to a certificate. Certification programs involve classroom sessions and laboratory work, and they include instruction in anatomy, physiology and medical terminology. Some phlebotomists enter the occupation with a high school diploma and are trained on the job. Phlebotomists also receive specific instruction on how to identify, label and track blood samples.
- Have good interpersonal skills
- Have a focused, professional attitude
- Have excellent dexterity and hand-eye coordination
- Can stay calm and work effectively under pressure
- Are detail-oriented