Phlebotomists are an instrumental part of the NHS team, making sure that the diagnosis of illness is done quickly and safely. 

Working life

As a phlebotomist, you will take blood samples from patients which are examined in a laboratory and the results can be used to quickly diagnose diseases and conditions. 


When taking blood, you have to be careful that you

Patients may be nervous about having their blood taken, so you have to reassure them and put them at ease. Phlebotomists may work in hospitals, clinics or health centres. You may visit patients at home or in residential or care homes.

Depending on where you're based, you will work as part of a team with nurses, healthcare science staff working in blood sciences, biomedical scientists, GPs and other healthcare staff. You may work as a healthcare assistant, and then receive training in phlebotomy so that you can take patient's blood.

Entry requirements 

There are no set entry requirements to become a trainee phlebotomist. Employers usually ask for at least two GCSEs or equivalent. They may ask for a BTEC or equivalent vocational qualification in health and social care or healthcare.

Employers often ask for relevant work experience. Even where this is not specified, it would be an advantage if you have worked in health or social care, in either paid or voluntary work. There are apprenticeships in healthcare that would give you relevant experience to apply for a trainee phlebotomist position. You could work as a healthcare assistant, and then receive training in phlebotomy so that you can take patient's blood.

Must have skills 

As a phlebotomist, you'll need:

You'll also need:

Training and development 

Phlebotomists are trained on the job and so securing a trainee phlebotomist position is recommended. The training includes theory and practical work including

If you take a freestanding course in phlebotomy before applying for a job as a phlebotomist, there is no guarantee of a position within the NHS.

Phlebotomists can become members of the National Association of Phlebotomists (NAP) or associate members of the Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS) which offer training and conferences for phlebotomists.  With experience and further training, you could become a senior phlebotomist taking on more advanced work. You could become a team leader, supervising the work of a team of phlebotomists.

Pay and benefits 

Your standard working week will be around 37.5 hours with the need to work flexibly over a seven day period. As phlebotomist, you’ll be paid on the Agenda for Change (AFC) pay system, typically starting on bands 2 or 3. With further training and experience, you could apply for more senior positions at band 4. 

You’ll also have access to our generous pension scheme and health service discounts, as well as 27 days of annual leave plus bank holidays.

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