Phlebotomist

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

Salary range: £17,652 to £23,671

How to become a phlebotomist

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • applying directly

College

There are no set entry requirements to become a trainee phlebotomist, although you may have an advantage if you’ve got a college qualification like:

  • Level 2 Diploma in Healthcare Support Services
  • Level 2 Certificate in Health and Social Care
  • Level 3 Diploma in Healthcare Support

Level 2 or 3 courses in health and social care usually include work placements, which will help you to get a job afterwards.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course

More information

Apprenticeship

You could do an intermediate apprenticeship as a healthcare science assistant, specialising in phlebotomy.

You could also do an intermediate apprenticeship as a healthcare support worker and then apply for a trainee role in phlebotomy.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship

More information

Work

You could start as a healthcare assistant and work your way up through training and promotion.

Volunteering and experience

Employers look for relevant work experience so it would be helpful if you’ve worked or volunteered in a health or social care role.

You could contact the voluntary services co-ordinator at your local NHS trust for further advice. Do-it also has information on voluntary opportunities in your area.

Direct application

You could apply directly to work as a phlebotomist. There are no set requirements, although at least 2 GCSEs and a first aid certificate may be helpful.

Some employers may ask for a qualification in healthcare or health and social care.

More information

Professional and industry bodies

You can join the National Association of Phlebotomists and Institute of Biomedical Science for professional recognition and training opportunities.

Further information

You can find out more about how to become a phlebotomist from Health Careers.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • customer service skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to work well with others
  • knowledge of teaching and the ability to design courses
  • knowledge of English language
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Restrictions and requirements

You’ll need to:

You may need a driving licence for some jobs. 

What you’ll do

Day-to-day tasks

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

Working environment

You could work in an NHS or private hospital.

You may need to wear protective clothing.

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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