How To Become a Phlebotomist in 3 Simple Steps


Degree Level

Associate's Degree





What is a ​Phlebotomist?

Phlebotomists or phlebotomy technicians as they are also called work in the medical profession and their primary task is to draw blood from patients.

If you’re looking into how to become a phlebotomist there are a few things you need to be aware of, all of which I will be covering in this article.

Being a phlebotomist, as with any role in the health profession can be incredibly rewarding. Helping patients on a daily basis does take a certain type of person, but if you’re ok with needles and have a desire to help others it may just be the perfect profession for you.

There are a few roads into this profession. I will cover the academic requirements, desirable skills that will help you in this profession, and everything you need to know about the role.

What Does a Phlebotomist Do?

Phlebotomists draw blood from patients. This means inserting a needle into a vein, usually in the arm or wrist. So not being squeamish at the sight of needles or blood is vitally important. They work with other medical professionals such as doctors and physicians and will draw blood on their referrals.

The most popular working locations are hospitals, private clinics, nursing homes, and laboratories. The blood is drawn into vials and passed on to laboratories to be tested for health issues.
Other duties of a phlebotomist include updating medical records, labeling vials, sending vials off, keeping their work environment clean and well organized, and communicating with other healthcare professionals.

Key Duties of a Phlebotomist

  • ​Talking with patients and helping them feel at ease
  • ​Drawing blood from patients
  • ​Carefully maintaining medical records
  • ​Practicing professional and hygienic standards
  • ​Working with other healthcare professionals

Desirable Skills of a Phlebotomist

Becoming a phlebotomist is often a career that people with a desire to help others is attracted too. Anyone can quality and do the role however, here are some desirable skills that will help you progress and get the most from this profession:

Great Communication Skills

As a phlebotomist, you will be dealing with patients of all ages and backgrounds on a daily basis, as well as communicating with healthcare professionals. You will need to help some patients feel comfortable by explaining the process of drawing blood. As well as communicating with colleagues in a professional manner.

Being Organized Under Pressure

Keeping medical records up-to-date and accurate is a vital part of the role. As well as organizing your own working environment to ensure you do not lose or contaminate any medical equipment. Working in a busy hospital can be busy and stressful, mistakes can be very costly so being able to operate under pressure is a huge advantage.

An Eye for Detail and Accuracy

Both drawing blood and maintaining the paperwork and computerized records requires a high-degree of accuracy and an attention to detail. Mistakes can be costly, both financially, and have health complications.

Caring Nature

While it’s not necessary, it’s certainly beneficial if you are naturally caring and compassionate. You will see patients with all kinds of medical conditions, some terminal, some difficult to look at.

Reliable and Timely Team Player

It’s not easy for other staff to fill in for a phlebotomist that is late or absent. A lot of patients are relying on you, so the less absent time the more efficient the whole medical team will be operating and the higher level of care the patients will receive.
Average phlebotomy technician salary $30.670

what is a phlebotomist

​​​​Becoming a Phlebotomist

Step 1 Get your High school Diploma or GED

​Entering a phlebotomy ​school is achievable for most. You need to be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or something equivalent like a GED. There are no specific grade requirements, but having good grades in biology and chemistry will put you ahead of the competition.

Step 2 Complete a ​Phlebotomist Accredited Program

Phlebotomy Technician Certificate (​on campus) 3 months to a year

You can get a technician certificate from a college or a technical school.

These short term training programs will teach you the basic skills you need in order to become a successful phlebotomist. You will have classes like ​anatomy and physiology, first aid and CPR, and phlebotomy.

When you choose a program there are two factors you should consider.  The first one is the program you choose should have hands-on training at a clinical environment like a hospital.

The second factor being that it should also be recognized by the American Society for Clinical Pathology, American Certification Agency, National Center for Competency Testing or the American Medical Technologists.

Click the button below to find an accredited training program near you

Phlebotomy Technician Certificate (Online)

These programs offered by colleges will give you the chance to get an online phlebotomy technician certificate.

You will be able to complete all theoretical courses from the comfort of your home, but you will have to attend local facilities to complete the courses that require hand on training.

These training programs are recommended for students that are busy and want a flexible schedule.

Again, before you enroll with an online program you should make sure it is accredited by the organizations mentioned above.

Click the button below to find an accredited online training program near you

Associate’s Degree in Phlebotomy 2 years

An Associate’s degree in phlebotomy is a two year degree that requires 90 credits.

There are two different types of Associate’s degrees in phlebotomy and they are both combined with another medical career.

The Associate of Applied Science in EKG-Phlebotomy Technician, and the Associate of Applied Science in medical assisting with phlebotomy Degree.

Associate of Applied Science in EKG-Phlebotomy Technician

This 60 week associate’s degree requires 90 credits and 20 classes, it can be completed either online or offline. An externship will most likely be mandatory in order to get the required hands-on experience. During their training, students will learn how to collect blood and urine, operate a 12-lead EKG machine and identify heart diseases.


Associate of Applied Science in ​Medical ​Assisting with ​Phlebotomy

​Like EKG- Phlebotomy Technician associate’s degree, this is also a 60 week, 90 credit, and 20 classes program, with an externship that can be completed either online or offline.

During a course of this degree, students will learn how to draw blood, collect urine, use medical computer applications, and master medical law.


The advantages of having an associate’s degree in phlebotomy is that graduates have the chance to try a different career in the medical field, or advance their phlebotomist’s career quicker. Additionally an associate’s degree makes a graduate more employable as it demonstrates their commitment within the healthcare services field.

Click the button below to find an Associate’s Degree near you

Step 3 Get Certified


After finishing their studies, aspiring phlebotomists can choose to get a certification from one of the following organizations:

Getting certified will improve your employ-ability and will increase your starting salary. Furthermore there are states like Nevada, California, Florida, Washington and Louisiana where you cannot practice phlebotomy if you are not certified.

CPT Certified Phlebotomy Technician –NHA (National Healthcareer Association)

(RPT) Registered Phlebotomy Technician –  (American Medical Technologists)

(PBT) Phlebotomy Technician –  (American Society for Clinical Pathology)

(NCPT) National Certified Phlebotomy Technician – (National Center for Competency Testing)

(ACA) Certified Phlebotomy Technician –CPT (American Certification Agency)

Overview of Phlebotomist Degrees

​Certificate Program

It’s not a mandatory requirement to have a phlebotomy certification to start your career, but it’s certainly a good idea to complete one and I always recommend doing so.

There is a strong preference for employers to choose people who have earned a certificate or above. With the relatively small time and financial investment it’s worth completing it.

You will cover some of the core areas, such as safety and infection control, best workplace practices, how to take blood safely, how to use the necessary equipment, and more.

A certificate is also a good way to become more comfortable with what it takes to be a phlebotomist, leads on to further qualifications, and installs those ever important continuing development ethics.

​Associate’s Degree ​

Associate’s degrees in phlebotomy cover the core areas of phlebotomy, such as how to collect and handle blood samples, patient care, and best working practices. As well as some of the medical technology and clinical laboratory science knowledge topics.

Completing an associate’s degree will not only help you enter the workplace quicker, but with a skill set that will give the confidence and competence to carry out your work to a high standard.

They are typically one or two-year programs, and will prepare you to move onto a bachelor’s degree afterwards.

Which Is Best for You: Certificate or Associate's Degree?

To give you an in-depth answer I would need to know your education, previous study and work experience, budget, future goals and so on.

But as a general rule, I always advise people to take an associate's degree over a certificate when pursuing a career in phlebotomy - as I will explain.

There are a few reasons why I advise this career path, and a couple of the key reasons are; Firstly, an associate’s degree covers a much wider range of topics and goes into more depth into the core areas of phlebotomy.

This is obviously an advantage and will help you develop more skills which are always important when working in the medical field.

This also has the knock-on effect of increasing your chance of being employed and giving you some negotiating power for a higher salary.

Another reason to choose an associate’s degree over a certificate program is because it leads on to a bachelor’s degree.

I know more study will be the last thing on your mind at this point. But if you do want to take your studies further you have to go through an associate’s degree so you may as well start at this point.

I mainly recommend a certificate degree to people who are still not sure that being a phlebotomist is in their long-term future.

It’s still a great way to learn about the profession and get some experience, but if you want to be cost-effective if your time and take the quickest and smoothest career path check out the information above on associate’s degrees.

Phlebotomist Job Growth, Salary and Outlook



If you’re interested in becoming a phlebotomist doing a little research into the expected growth for this occupation, along with the projected salary and general outlook for the profession is the smart thing to do.

The good news is that all of the above is very positive for phlebotomists. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the projected growth for the profession is 25% between 2016-26.

This is way above the national average across all professions which is just 7%. This shows us that there are plenty of employment opportunities and good job security for phlebotomists in the foreseeable future..

This translates into an expected change in employment for the same period of 30,100. Again, this is way above average and illustrates the need for skilled phlebotomists is only going to increase over time.

The surprising factor however is that the median salary is a little below the national average of $37,040, at $32,710.

However, by pursuing the right qualification and getting experience behind you can earn a decent wage above this average, and this is something I cover in-depth in this article.

These stats reflect the fact that the medical sector is always growing. There are new procedures, technologies, an aging population, and therefore there will always be a growing demand for phlebotomists.

Choosing to become a phlebotomist is not just a smart career choice, it’s a rewarding one and certainly worth the time and financial investment.

How Long Does it Take to Become a ​Phlebotomist and How Much Does it Cost?


Degree Time Cost
Certificate (offline)6 months – 12 months$700 - $2.500
Certification 1 month$95 - $135
Total 7 months – 13 months $795 - $2.635

Degree Time Cost
Certificate (online)6 months – 12 months$700 - $3.000
Certification 1 month$95 - $135
Total 7 months – 13 months $795 - $3.130

Associate's Degree

Degree Time Cost
Associates Degree (online-offline)2 years$33.300 - $38.500
Certification 1 month - 1 year$95 - $135
Total 2 years & 1 month$33.395 - $38.635

​Phlebotomist Training Video