Career Profile:


Laboratory technicians conduct important tests on patient samples and analyze the results, as designated by physicians. They communicate the results to physicians, who use them to make their diagnoses. Phlebotomists are health care professionals who specialize in drawing blood from patients for testing, transfusions, or research.

As a laboratory technician, you will examine bodily fluids, tissues, and cells and make determinations about health conditions as well as the presences or absence of diseases. You will be trained to use technology and scientific equipment to analyze specimens. You may look for parasites, bacteria and other microorganisms or evaluate blood cells under a microscope. You will evaluate data and test results for accuracy and communicate results to the physicians. As a phlebotomist, you will draw blood from patients by performing venipuncture (drawing blood by using needles). Blood samples are used for testing (for diagnosis or experiments) or for blood transfusions.

Where You Work

As a lab tech, you will typically work in an area of a hospital, clinic, or health management organization that has been designated for the purpose of conducting lab testing and examining results. As a phlebotomist, you will typically work in a laboratory located in a hospital, health management organization, clinic, or relevant medical facility. However, others work in blood donation centers, laboratories, outpatient settings, or international organizations and may even travel to collect samples.

How You Help

In your role as a lab technician or phlebotomist, you help people by conducting necessary tests (lab tech) or by drawing blood for testing (phlebotomists). A phlebotomist helps reduce the workload of doctors and nurses by focusing exclusively on blood collection. Doctors and lab technicians use samples to test for diseases, experiments, or clinical trials.

Helpful High School Courses

  • Health
  • Biology
  • Chemistry

Skills to Build

  • Sensitivity to others and patience
  • Attention to extreme detail and ability to analyze information
  • Ability to learn technology and operate equipment
  • Time management and organization skills
  • Manual skills


  • Different work settings such as hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, schools and in the community
  • Can have a consistent daily schedule
  • Play an important role in helping patients by obtaining or analyzing necessary samples for diagnosis


  • Salary tends to be on the lower end for a medical career
  • The daily routines can be repetitive

Education You Need

Can have an Associate’s Degree or Certification to become a Laboratory Technician or Phlebotomist.

A Day in the Life of a Lab Technician

  • 6:00
    Set up and sanitize facility and prepare lab equipment
  • 7:30
    Prepare specimens using automated equipment and computerized instruments
  • 9:30
    Collect blood samples and match blood compatibility for transfusions
  • 1:00
    Use microscopes, analyzers, and cell counters to conduct lab work
  • 3:00
    Analyze body fluids to gather information; analyze data and provide reports to physician

A Day in the Life of a Phlebotomist

  • 6:00
    Review patient records
  • 7:00
    Prepare syringes, tubes, labels, and other supplies in carry kit
  • 7:30
    Start patient rounds in hospital for routine daily blood tests
  • 9:00
    Deliver first batch of tubes to laboratory to run tests and continue round
  • 11:00
    Draw blood cultures on patient with fever
  • 12:00
    Deliver second batch of tubes to laboratory to run tests
  • 1:00
    Restock supplies in carry kit for rounds

Average Annual Salary Range

  • Laboratory Technician is $40,933-$51,008*
  • Phlebotomist is $28,404-$35,133*

Learn More

Similar Careers

  • Medical Laboratory Assistant
  • Clinical Lab Consultant
  • Medical Technologist
* Actual salary dependent on education, experience, location, and other variables