What is a Phlebotomist

A phlebotomist is an individual who works with blood; in particular, they draw blood from patients for tests, transfusions, research, or during blood donations. They also aid patients by explaining their work and providing assistance should the patient have an adverse reaction to their blood being drawn (ie they feint, or experience other adverse symptoms). For more on job duties, please visit our phlebotomist job description page.

Work Environment

Phlebotomists work primarily in hospitals, however they also find work in medical and diagnostic laboratories, doctor’s offices (particularly if the doctor has some form of hemophobia), and in blood donation centers. While most of these are fairly stable and consistent work areas, those working for blood donation centers will find a large area of potential environments; when blood drives are occurring, the donation center may hold events in various locations, including schools, malls, and other public centers.

Work Schedule

Phlebotomists can have various different work schedules, including a standard forty-hour work week, working 5 days at eight hours per day. Alternatively, they may work 3 twelve-hour days. The days and hours worked may vary, as evening and weekend work is required; patients may require emergency blood tests, or a blood donation center may hold extended hours.

Most labs and outpatient facilities will offer a more normal schedule, with regular business hours. It tends to be the emergency hospital or blood donation positions that will bring irregular hours. 

Mean Annual Phlebotomist Salary

A phlebotomist in the US can make $30,910 annually. Lowest 10% of this occupation makes less than $21,340 and the top 10% makes over $42,600.

Phlebotomist Salary: Quick Summary

2012 Mean Salary$30,910 per year
$14.86 per hour
Top 10% Salary$42,600 per year
$20.48 per hour
Bottom 10% Salary$21,340 per year
$10.26 per hour
Number of Jobs, 2012100,380

Job Outlook

Hospitals, diagnostic laboratories, and blood donation centers will need phlebotomists to perform blood work in the coming years. There will be a greater strain on the health system caused by an aging population, as well as a growing need to reduce costs; as such, phlebotomist job prospects are expected to grow by 27% between 2012 and 2022, much more quickly than the average of all occupations.

Salary Analysis

The mean expected salary of a phlebotomist is $30,910; though this varies by around $10,000 in either direction; the lowest paid phlebotomists earn around $21,340, while the highest 10% have a wage of around $42,600.

Numerous factors affect their wage, in particular education, experience, and geographic location. Industry worked tends to have only minor impacts, with one or two notable exceptions.

Education and Specialization 

Phlebotomists typically earn a post-secondary diploma or certificate, with many community colleges, vocational schools, and technical schools offering these. It tends to be a qualification added to an already-existing occupation, such as a nurse or assistant who wants to improve their income.

Specialization is not typically an area for consideration for phlebotomists. As the field itself is relatively straightforward, if occasionally difficult, there are few areas to specialize in. As mentioned, it tends to be an additional skill or qualification tacked on to another occupation, though some do pursue it as a distinct career.

Certification, however, is a potential means for phlebotomist salary improvement; while many states do have certification requirements, some do not, and thus a phlebotomist can see wage growth through certification.

Experience and Position 

Experience in phlebotomy is a desirable factor for salary consideration. While all postsecondary nondegrees in phlebotomy require some practical component, further experience is always beneficial. A certified phlebotomist in a state without certification requirements will, as a rule, be more desirable than an uncertified one, due in part to their experience. Statistics show that an individual with 10 years of experience can earn up to $16 per hour while someone just starting out as a phlebotomist usually earn around $10 per hour.

Position is an interesting case for phlebotomists. As it does tend to be an additional qualification rather than a career in and of itself, it can contribute to advances in position, and thus salary improvements. However, a career phlebotomist will tend to have few means of rising in a hierarchy, unless it is movement to a pedagogical position. 


The vast majority of industries that phlebotomists work in do tend to hover around the $30,000 mark; general and surgical medical hospitals offer an average of $29,840, while medical and diagnostic laboratories offer $32,310. The top-paying industries tend to average only up to around $34,000, with the exception of state government positions, which have average wages of $38,160, and insurance carriers, who have a mean annual wage of $41,350. In general, these patterns indicate that those working in hospitals usually bring in a higher income than those employed in physician offices. At the higher end of the pay scale are those who work for non-profit organizations and government agencies.


The geographic location can have a major influence, with state differences between $21,890 (Puerto Rico), and $38,750 (Alaska) as an example. Phlebotomists in California has the second highest income at $38,430, and Delaware follows at $37,030.

On the metropolitan level, California dominates the board, with all but the tenth highest wage (Barnstable, MA’s $39,570) located there. The best-paying area, however, is Oakland-Fremont-Hayward, CA, with an average annual wage of $47,430.

Phlebotomist Salary: Top 5

Top Paying Metropolitan AreasTop Paying StatesTop Paying IndustriesStates with Highest Employment Level
Oakland, CA: $47,430Alaska: $38,750Insurance Carriers: $41,350California: (10,070 jobs) $38,430
Stockton, CA: $46,920California: $38,430State Government: $38,160Texas: (7,040 jobs) $27,800
Santa Barbara, CA: $45,350Delaware: $37,030Drug Wholesalers: $34,830Florida: (5,470 jobs) $27,310
Vallejo-Fairfield, CA: $45,030Rhode Island: $36,430Specialty Hospitals: $34,530Pennsylvania: (4,850 jobs) $30,100
Merced, CA: $43,850New York: $36,240Home Health Care Services: $34,230Ohio: (4,690 jobs) $29,750

phlebotomist salary state by state