How to Become a Phlebotomist

Phlebotomists are qualified clinical laboratory technicians trained to draw blood specimens for testing or transfusion. They keep track of patient records, take and prepare blood samples for testing, and help make patients feel at ease during what can sometimes be a dreadful experience. Lab tech jobs are predicted to grow faster than most other fields through 2014 [source: BLS].

Here's what you need to do to become a phlebotomist:


  1. Get your high school diploma or GED All clinical laboratory technologists and technicians need at least a high school diploma or equivalency degree to be licensed in the field [source: BLS].
  2. Complete phlebotomist training The type of training required for phlebotomists and other lab technicians varies from state to state. In many cases, phlebotomists must have an associate's degree from a junior or community college, technical or vocational school, or university [source: Education-portal]. There are also accredited phlebotomist training programs that take between six months and one year, and that may meet your state's licensing requirements [source: All Allied Health Schools].
  3. Pass a phlebotomy certification exam Most states require that you pass a phlebotomy exam for licensing. Organizations like the National Health career Association offer programs and exams approved for national certification in phlebotomy. Make sure the exam is approved in your state before taking it [source: NHA].
  4. Become licensed in your state Most states require licensing or registration to work as a clinical laboratory technician. Even more importantly, most employers want to see proof that you're qualified to draw blood and handle sensitive medical equipment. You can find out about your state's licensing requirements from your state department of health or board of occupational licensing [source: BLS].