What Is a Phlebotomist? What They Do & Training

what is phlebotomist what they do and training
If you’ve ever experienced the routine of getting your blood drawn for medical tests, you’ve likely encountered the skilled hands of a phlebotomist. They are the ones who collect blood, make sure it remains safe and uncontaminated, and take it to the lab for testing. In this blog post, we’ll find out who phlebotomists are, what they do, where they work, and the important things they do to make sure medical tests are accurate.

What is a Phlebotomist

The word “Phlebotomy” comes from the Greek words “phleb-” and “-tomia,” which mean “vein” and “cutting.” A phlebotomist is a medical expert trained to take blood from both kids and grown-ups. They gather and get blood ready for testing in a medical lab. Phlebotomists are skilled in drawing blood through:

  • Venipuncture (a puncture in your vein).
  • Finger pricks, like for checking blood sugar or finding blood type.
  • Heel pricks, which are specifically for babies.

What Does a Phlebotomist Do?

A phlebotomist’s main job is to take blood samples. Here’s what they do:

  • Help people feel calm before getting their blood taken, especially if they’re nervous or scared.
  • Check that the person is who they say they are before taking blood and make sure the blood vials are labeled right.
  • Make sure all the tools are clean before taking blood.
  • Take blood and give blood to people.
  • Help if someone feels sick after getting their blood taken or getting blood.
  • Keep track of and store the blood samples to send to labs or blood banks.
  • Keep things organized and make sure there are enough supplies.

Where Do Phlebotomists Work:

Phlebotomists have jobs in many different spots, such as labs, hospitals, health centers, nursing homes, doctor’s offices, and places where people donate blood. Other medical experts usually supervise them to make sure everything is done correctly and goes smoothly.

Blood Draw Expectations: Phlebotomist Procedure

If you have to get your blood drawn for a medical test or are donating blood, you can expect the following:

  • The phlebotomist will greet you and confirm your identity.
  • Wearing gloves, they’ll use a tourniquet on your upper arm to slow blood flow.
  • After disinfecting the area, they’ll pinpoint the vein for the blood draw.
  • A needle will be gently inserted, collecting blood in attached vials based on ordered tests.
  • Once done, they’ll release the tourniquet, remove the needle, and apply pressure with a cotton ball.
  • Finally, they’ll apply a bandage on the area, ensuring a protective covering and completing the blood draw process.
Phlebotomist Procedure for blood collection

Must-Have Skills To Be a Phlebotomist

Being a successful phlebotomist requires a set of key skills:

  • Demonstrating caring and kind behavior is important to reduce patient anxiety.
  • Have a hands-on approach.
  • The ability to put patients at ease, especially if they feel anxious about giving blood.
  • Capability to follow instructions and procedures accurately.
  • Balancing the ability to work effectively in a team while using your own initiative when needed.
  • Strong communication skills, including effective listening and the capability to explain procedures to patients.
  • Being careful and methodical in handling tasks and procedures.
  • Organizational and observational skills.

Skills You Could Learn in Phlebotomy Training

Phlebotomy training goes beyond just drawing blood. Join us as we explore the various skills you can pick up through phlebotomy training, paving the way for a fulfilling career in healthcare.

  1. Mastering Blood Drawing Skills: Given that phlebotomists frequently draw blood, students learn the precise art of locating veins and arteries through needle sticks.
  2. Understanding Human Anatomy: As phlebotomy is a medical discipline, students gain in-depth knowledge of human anatomy, with a specific focus on the veins and arteries within the circulatory system.
  3. Safe Management of Fluids: Educational institutions instruct students on the safe handling of potentially hazardous fluids, prioritizing their safety and that of others.
Phlebotomist skills and training
  1. Teaching Cleanliness and Disease Prevention: Students are educated on the significance of cleanliness and disease prevention, emphasizing donor safety as a paramount concern.
  1. Neat Record-Keeping: As phlebotomists utilize collected samples for medical testing, preparatory classes stress the importance of maintaining organized and accurate record-keeping practices.
  1. Customer Service Techniques: Interacting with numerous donors and patients daily, phlebotomists are trained in customer service techniques to ensure a positive experience for donors, a focal point in school instruction.

Phlebotomist Salaries & Job Outlook

Phlebotomists earn an annual income of $37,380, but this can vary depending on factors such as your location and workplace. Those employed in outpatient care centers and medical or diagnostic labs generally receive higher salaries, while salaries may be lower in places like hospitals and doctor’s offices. The good news is that the job growth rate for this role is 10 percent, which is faster than the average for all jobs.

How To Become A Phlebotomist?

Entering the path to become a phlebotomist requires specific steps and training. Let’s find out the steps that will help you become a phlebotomist:

Application to a Phlebotomy Training Program
The initial step involves applying to a phlebotomy program after completing high school or obtaining a GED. This application process typically includes submitting necessary documents such as proof of high school graduation, CPR certification, a background check, and immunization records.

Completion of Phlebotomy Training Program
Phlebotomy training programs combine theoretical coursework with hands-on training. During this period, aspiring phlebotomists gain insights into their day-to-day responsibilities, blood sample collection techniques, proper storage and labeling procedures, adherence to industry standards, and the importance of ensuring patient safety.

Obtaining Certification
While not mandatory in all states, acquiring phlebotomy certification can significantly enhance job prospects. Certification options include Limited Phlebotomy Technician (LPT), Certified Phlebotomy Technician I (CPT I), and Certified Phlebotomy Technician II (CPT II), each granting specific authorizations for various blood collection procedures.

Certification Exam
After the training program completion, individuals must take a certification exam. Some states permit on-the-job training for acquiring blood drawing skills, while others, like California, Louisiana, Nevada, and Washington, have specific certification requirements.

National organizations such as the American Medical Technologists (AMT), the National Center for Competency Testing/Multi-skilled Medical Certification Institute (NCCT/MMCI), and the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) offer these certifications.

Continuing Education
Sustaining a phlebotomy career involves ongoing learning. To maintain certification and eligibility to practice, individuals often need to continue education courses. Specific requirements vary by state, necessitating individuals to stay informed about their state licensing agency’s regulations.


In conclusion, phlebotomists play a vital role in the healthcare industry, contributing significantly to patient care. They are skilled professionals trained to draw blood with precision and care, making them essential members of the healthcare team.

If you’re considering a path in this dynamic field, obtaining certification through the phlebotomy training program at Illinois Health Careers is an excellent choice. Our program is both affordable and flexible, ensuring that aspiring phlebotomists receive quality education to excel in their roles.

Enroll now at Illinois Health Careers and take the first step towards becoming a certified phlebotomist. Your journey to making a positive impact in healthcare starts here!

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