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Phlebotomist

Phlebotomists collect blood samples from patients, and send them off for analysis and testing.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £15,250 to £22,500 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 37.5 per week

1. Entry requirements

There are no set entry requirements for this role, but you’ll usually need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs in subjects like English, maths and science
  • paid or unpaid work experience in a caring role

You could get into this job through an apprenticeship.

You could also start as a healthcare assistant and work your way up with further training.

A first aid certificate will be useful and you might also need a driving licence.

Health Careers has more information about becoming a phlebotomist.

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • good written and spoken communication skills
  • empathy, with the ability to put nervous and distressed patients at ease
  • practical skills and a steady hand
  • the ability to follow instructions and procedures accurately
  • the ability to work calmly under pressure

3. What you'll do

You’ll take blood samples from babies, adults and older people for testing in laboratories.

Your day-to-day duties might include:

  • explaining the procedure to patients
  • reassuring nervous or distressed patients
  • inserting a hypodermic needle and drawing off the blood into a tube
  • applying a dressing to the puncture made by the needle
  • labelling the blood sample
  • delivering the sample to the correct laboratory
  • completing records and entering data on a computer

4. Salary

Starter: £15,250 to £16,750

Experienced: £18,000 to £19,750

Highly Experienced: up to £22,500

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You’ll usually work 37.5 hours a week. 

You’ll often need to work shifts including evenings and weekends.

You’ll need to follow strict health and safety procedures when taking and handling blood samples. You’ll need to wear disposable gloves, and you may also need to have a Hepatitis B immunisation.

You’ll work mainly in hospitals, either on wards or in outpatient clinics.

6. Career path and progression

With experience you could be a senior phlebotomist and have responsibility for more complex work. You could also become a team leader or manager.

Your skills and experience in phlebotomy could give you an advantage if you want to go into donor care and work with the NHS Blood and Transplant Service.

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Last updated: 08 December 2016