This job is sometimes referred to by alternative titles
Phlebotomists collect blood and samples from patients for laboratory testing or for blood banks.
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.
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 figures and diagrams in our job 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.
- 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?
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."
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.
- Medical Sciences Council of New Zealand website - information on qualifications for phlebotomists and donor technicians
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.
There are no specific secondary education requirements to become a phlebotomist. However, biology, English, health and maths are useful.
Additional requirements for specialist roles:
Specimen services technicians
Phlebotomists need to be:
- 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 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).
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.
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 - firstname.lastname@example.org - www.mscouncil.org.nz
- New Zealand Blood Service
- (09) 523 5744 - email@example.com - www.nzblood.co.nz
- New Zealand Institute of Medical Laboratory Science (NZIMLS)
- (03) 313 4761 - firstname.lastname@example.org - www.nzimls.org.nz
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:
- private laboratories
- the New Zealand Blood Service.
- 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.
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.
Last updated 13 August 2017