Phlebotomists collect blood samples from patients to help diagnose illness. Find out how you could train as a phlebotomist. 

This page has information on the role of the phlebotomist, including entry requirements and skills needed. 

Working life

As a phlebotomist, you will take blood samples from patients. The samples are examined in a laboratory and the results can be used to 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.

Skills and personal characteristics needed

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). Both NAP and IBMS offer training and conferences where phlebotomists can network with others doing similar work.

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