Job Description:

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

Job Category:
Health Care & Social Assistance

What you will do:

As a phlebotomist, you could:

  • explain the procedure to patients and reassure them
  • insert a hypodermic needle to draw off the blood into a tube
  • apply dressings
  • label and deliver the blood sample
  • complete records and enter data on a computer


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of English language
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

As well as:

  • 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 (teamwork)
  • a desire to help people
  • organised and methodical to ensure the samples are processed and stored correctly for transport
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

School Subjects

Becoming a phlebotomist typically involves practical training and certification rather than specific GCSE subjects.

While specific GCSE subjects may not be strict prerequisites, having a strong foundation in certain subjects can be beneficial for understanding the medical field and performing the duties of a phlebotomist effectively, such as:

  1. Biology: A basic understanding of human anatomy, physiology, and the circulatory system is important for a phlebotomist to safely and accurately draw blood.
  2. Chemistry: Some knowledge of chemistry can help you understand the properties of blood, storage methods, and safety protocols related to handling blood samples.
  3. Mathematics: Basic math skills are useful for measurements, calculations, and ensuring accurate blood collection.
  4. Health and Social Care: This subject can provide insights into healthcare ethics, patient communication, and professionalism, which are important aspects of a phlebotomist’s role.
  5. First Aid: While not a GCSE subject, having a basic understanding of first aid and emergency procedures can be valuable in case of any adverse reactions during blood collection.

It’s important to note that the specific requirements for becoming a phlebotomist can vary depending on the country or region you’re in.

In many cases, you would need to complete a formal phlebotomy training program and obtain relevant certifications. These programs typically cover the necessary practical skills, techniques, safety protocols, and legal and ethical considerations for phlebotomy.

You can get into this career through:

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

There are no set entry requirements to become a trainee phlebotomist, although it may help to have a college qualification like:

  • Diploma in Healthcare Support Services
  • Certificate in Health and Social Care
  • Diploma in Healthcare Support

Courses in health and social care often include work placements. This will give you practical experience, which could help you to get a job afterwards.

You could do a Healthcare Science Assistant Intermediate Apprenticeship, specialising in phlebotomy.

You could do a Healthcare Support Worker Intermediate Apprenticeship and then apply for a trainee role in phlebotomy.

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

You might have an advantage when looking for jobs if you have volunteering experience in a healthcare setting.

Direct Application
You could apply directly to work as a phlebotomist. There are no set entry requirements, though it may be helpful if you have at least solid marks and a first aid certificate.

Some employers may prefer you to have a qualification in healthcare or health and social care.

Restrictions and Requirements
You’ll need to:

  • pass enhanced background checks
  • have a first aid certificate
  • you may need a driving licence for some jobs.

Working Hours and Environment:

You would typically work 37 to 42 hours per week.

You could work in a government or private hospital. You may need to wear protective clothing.

Career Path & 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.