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Phlebotomist

Kaitiki Toto

Alternative titles for this job

Phlebotomists collect blood and samples from patients for laboratory testing or for blood banks.

Pay

Trainee phlebotomists usually earn

$37K-$46K per year

Qualified and registered phlebotomists usually earn

$43K-$55K per year

Source: DHBs/PSA, 'Allied, Public Health and Technical MECA', 2017.

Job opportunities

Chances of getting a job as a trainee phlebotomist are average, but better in larger cities.

Pay

Pay for phlebotomists varies depending on experience.

  • Trainee phlebotomists usually earn between $37,000 and $46,000 a year.
  • Qualified and registered phlebotomists can earn between $43,000 and $55,000 a year.

Source: District Health Boards and PSA, 'Allied, Public Health and Technical Multi-Employer Collective Agreement', 2017.

(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our pay information)

What you will do

Phlebotomists may do some or all of the following:

  • label samples and collect patient data
  • input data into computers
  • reassure patients and blood donors
  • take blood and other samples such as plasma and skin
  • look after patients if they have an adverse reaction
  • travel to collect samples from patients
  • test for allergies
  • maintain machinery and order supplies
  • drive a blood bank collection vehicle
  • publicise and attend blood donation events
  • provide front-line customer service.

Skills and knowledge

Phlebotomists need to have:

  • knowledge of the anatomy of the arm, and blood-taking techniques
  • the ability to take a variety of other bodily samples
  • knowledge of health and safety requirements, and hygiene
  • skills in reassuring patients and donors.

Working conditions

Phlebotomists:

  • often do shift work and may be required to work weekends
  • are likely to work part time, in the mornings, if they work for community medical laboratories
  • work in hospital laboratories or community medical laboratories, donor centres or mobile collection units
  • may travel locally to take samples at doctors' surgeries, hospitals, rest homes, patients' homes and workplaces.

What's the job really like?

Stephanie Joyce

Stephanie Joyce

Phlebotomist

White coat – but not a doctor

Patients often think phlebotomist Stephanie Joyce is a doctor. "They see the white coat, so they tell us, 'I've got this problem'. We have to say that all we are trained to do is take blood."

Stephanie goes out to take blood samples in rest homes and private homes, and sometimes patients are extremely sick.

A memorable work trip

One visit sticks in Stephanie's mind. "The patient's form said 'end stage cancer'. His daughter said he was asleep – but when I went in, I immediately thought, 'He's gone.'

"She tried to wake him up and I had to say, 'Look, I think your dad's passed away.' She was terribly upset. I was able to stay with her and help until her family arrived. Because of all my training I wasn't upset, but I think if I was a novice, I'd probably have freaked out. But I love my job. You have to love it to be able to do it."

Entry requirements

There are no specific requirements to become a trainee phlebotomist as you train on the job. 

To become a registered phlebotomist you need to:

  • work as a trainee phlebotomist in an approved laboratory for two years
  • gain the Qualified Medical Laboratory Pre-Analytical Technician (QMLPAT) Phlebotomy certificate or hold a degree approved by the Medical Sciences Council of New Zealand
  • hold a full driver licence.

The Vulnerable Children Act 2014 means that if you have certain serious convictions, you can’t be employed in a role where you are responsible for, or work alone with, children. 

Secondary education

There are no specific secondary education requirements to become a phlebotomist. However, biology, English, health and maths are useful.

Additional requirements for specialist roles:

Donor technicians

To become a registered donor technician for the New Zealand Blood Service, you need to work for the service for two years and pass the Qualified Donor Technician certificate (QDT).

Specimen services technicians

To become a registered specimen services technician you need to work in an approved laboratory for two years and pass the Qualified Specimen Services Technician certificate (QST).

Personal requirements

Phlebotomists need to be:

  • responsible
  • tolerant, patient and gentle
  • able to inspire confidence in patients and put them at ease
  • practical, and able to pay attention to detail
  • able to follow procedures and instructions
  • organised, with basic computer skills
  • good communicators with good listening skills.

Phlebotomists should not be squeamish, as their work involves body samples. They also need the ability to deal sensitively with a wide range of people.

Useful experience

Useful experience for phlebotomists includes:

  • customer service work
  • work in laboratories, particularly in the specimen reception area
  • training and working as a nurse or health care assistant
  • work in hospitals (particularly medical laboratories).

Physical requirements

Phlebotomists need to be reasonably fit and healthy, as they stand for most of the day. They also need to have good hand-eye co-ordination for finding veins when taking blood samples.

Registration

Phlebotomists need to be registered with the Medical Sciences Council of New Zealand.

Find out more about training

Medical Sciences Council of New Zealand
(04) 801 6250 - mls@medsci.co.nz - www.mscouncil.org.nz
New Zealand Blood Service
(09) 523 5744 - donors.national@nzblood.co.nz - www.nzblood.co.nz
New Zealand Institute of Medical Laboratory Science (NZIMLS)
(03) 313 4761 - fran@nzimls.org.nz - www.nzimls.org.nz
Check out related courses

What are the chances of getting a job?

Chances of getting a job as a trainee phlebotomist are average in smaller cities due to limited places and trainers, and low staff turnover.

Your best chance of getting work as a trainee phlebotomist is to:

  • be a registered nurse
  • apply for jobs in larger cities
  • approach laboratories directly
  • have good customer service experience
  • be willing to work part time in the morning, when there is more demand for tests.

Demand for phlebotomists increasing

Demand for phlebotomists is likely to increase as:

  • the population of New Zealand is ageing, so more people with health problems will require tests
  • health promotion programmes are increasing demand for tests
  • the workforce is ageing, so when they retire there will be a shortage of workers.

Types of employers

Phlebotomists work for:

  • hospitals
  • private laboratories
  • the New Zealand Blood Service.

Sources

  • Health Workforce New Zealand, 'Health of the Health Workforce 2015', February 2016, (www.moh.govt.nz).
  • Medical Sciences Council of New Zealand website, accessed April 2017, (www.mscouncil.org.nz).
  • New Zealand Blood Service website, accessed April 2017, (www.nzblood.co.nz).
  • Page, J, patient services manager, Wellington SCL, Careers New Zealand interview, April 2017.

(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our job opportunities information)

Progression and specialisations

Phlebotomists may progress into management roles or move into other health-related work.

Phlebotomists registered with the Medical Sciences Council of New Zealand can move into medical laboratory technician work. 

Phlebotomists may specialise in a specific area such as:

Donor Technician
Donor technicians collect blood and plasma from blood donors. 
Specimen Services Technician
Specimen services technicians take blood, urine and tissue from patients to test in a laboratory. They also perform tests and procedures on patients.
A phlebotomist draws blood from a woman donor sitting on a chair in a blood donation tent

Phlebotomists take blood for testing or for donations

Last updated 6 March 2019