Skip to content

What Does a Phlebotomist Do? Essential Phlebotomist Job Duties You Should Know

If you’re looking at a career in phlebotomy, you can rest assured you won’t have any trouble finding a job, with nearly 20,000 job openings each year for the next ten years.

Even so, choosing one career can be extremely challenging, especially when you’re concerned you might make the wrong choice. The good news is that learning all about essential phlebotomist job duties will help you better understand what a day in a phlebotomist’s life will be like.

Read on to learn everything you need to know about the role of a professional phlebotomist, and how to get the education you need.

Overview of a Phlebotomist

A phlebotomist, also known as a medical lab technician, is a medical professional trained to collect and prepare blood samples for laboratory testing. The word phlebotomy originates from the Greek words “phleb” and “tomia” which together mean vein cutting.

Blood tests are valuable tools that help monitor and diagnose various health conditions. While other healthcare professionals like nurses receive training to draw blood, this task is primarily the phlebotomist’s job. To draw blood, you’ll need to know the blood collection process and perform tasks like:

  • Heel pricks to collect blood in infants
  • Punctures in the vein
  • Finger pricks for blood sugar and blood type tests

As a phlebotomist, you’ll have the opportunity to work in a variety of healthcare facilities like hospitals, doctor’s offices, assisted living, nursing homes, laboratories, and community health centers.

Phlebotomist Job Duties

As a phlebotomist, your main duties involve collecting blood samples from patients as ordered by their healthcare providers. However, to accomplish this, you’ll need to complete specific tasks during each workday, that go far beyond simply drawing blood.

First, you’ll need to prepare patients for blood draws, which includes putting people at ease if they have fears of needles and verifying their identity before collection. You must also ensure that each sample is correctly handled and labeled for transport to the lab.

Other job duties include:

  • Reviewing patient history
  • Finding the best site for a blood draw
  • Answering questions about the process
  • Disinfecting equipment
  • Assisting with blood transfusions
  • Ordering and maintaining supplies
  • Analyzing samples using testing equipment
  • Preparing specimens for lab transport
  • Take vital signs
  • Writing reports

In addition, if you work in a clinical laboratory setting, you may need to help check patients in and obtain insurance and demographic information.

You also may need to deal with emergencies during your regular day and must be comfortable with taking a basic life support class and skills assessment.

Phlebotomy Skills and Qualifications

To perform your job duties well as a phlebotomist, you’ll need to have certain skills and qualifications. These skills include:

  • Good communication
  • Good listening abilities
  • Being able to calm anxious patients
  • Good attention to detail
  • Dependable
  • Excellent critical thinking abilities
  • Good time management skills
  • Ability to prioritize tasks
  • Ability to maintain strict patient privacy standards
  • Good manual dexterity

You also need to have good technical skills to easily navigate through electronic medical systems and input information.

Having empathy for people is also crucial in this role since you’ll experience patients who have a lot of anxiety with medical procedures.

Phlebotomy Education

Finally, you’ll need to understand where to begin your educational journey toward becoming a phlebotomist. The phlebotomist career path includes:

Get Your High School Diploma

You’ll need a high school diploma or high school equivalency before you can begin a phlebotomy program. If you don’t have your diploma, you can find high school equivalency programs that will help you finish your schooling.

For example, the professionals at Healthcare Career College offer an equivalency program that will prepare you to take the HiSet Exam to measure your skills. Once you have these credentials, it’s time to move on to the next step.

Enroll in a Phlebotomy Technician Program

Now you’re ready to enroll in a phlebotomy technician program, which will teach you the skills you need to take a state licensing exam and care for patients. This program covers various topics such as:

  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Patient care in phlebotomy
  • Infection control
  • Venipuncture techniques
  • Skin puncture techniques
  • Blood sample collection
  • Blood sample processing

You’ll also receive practical on-the-job experience via a clinical externship. This allows you to work in a real clinical lab and apply what you’ve learned in school. Externships typically require you to complete a certain number of skin and vein punctures under the supervision of a professional lab technician.

Full-Time vs. Part-Time

One of the best things about getting your phlebotomy certificate is that it can take as little as six weeks if you’re in full-time classes. This time frame depends on your level of education and how much time you have for classes each week.

Part-time programs will obviously take longer, and give you the flexibility you need to tend to your job and other responsibilities. In many cases, you’ll be able to find classes on nights or weekends.

Once you complete the program, you’ll earn your certificate and take a certification exam to start working. The phlebotomy program is also a great stepping stone toward continuing your phlebotomy education and even focusing on other healthcare careers, like nursing.

Take the State Certification Exam

In California, you’ll need to become certified by taking an exam to get your Certified Phlebotomy Technician I Certificate (CPTI). You’ll need to go through the application process and send copies of the transcripts from your high school and phlebotomy program.

You’ll also need to follow the instructions to submit work and other school experience. Once you pass the exam, you’ll earn your certificate, allowing you to perform skin punctures and vein collections.

Start Your Phlebotomist Career Journey Today

Now that you understand more about phlebotomist job duties, you’ll feel more comfortable taking the next steps in your healthcare career.

You can turn to Healthcare Career College for all of your healthcare education needs. We began helping people reach their true potential when we started in 1990, in Paramount, CA. Since then, it’s been our mission to transform students into healthcare professionals, preparing them for long-term careers.

We offer quality healthcare training programs like phlebotomy, massage therapy, nurse assistant, physical therapy aide, and more.

Make sure to contact us today to find out more about our programs, schedules, and financial aid assistance to begin your phlebotomy career!