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Pharmacy Technician vs. Phlebotomy Technician: What Are the Differences?

Learn about the two careers and review some of the similarities and differences between them.

Pharmacy technicians and phlebotomy technicians are two medical professions with different responsibilities. A pharmacy technician works in a pharmacy and is responsible for tasks such as stocking shelves and preparing prescriptions, while a phlebotomy technician draws blood from patients. If you’re interested in working in the medical field, learning about the similarities and differences between these two positions can help you decide which is right for you.

What is a Pharmacy Technician?

Pharmacy Technicians work under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist to fill prescriptions and provide customer service in a retail or hospital pharmacy. They measure and pour medications, count pills, label and package prescriptions and answer customer questions. They also take inventory, order and receive new stock and resolve insurance claims. Many Pharmacy Technicians become certified through voluntary professional organizations. Some states also have certification programs for Pharmacy Technicians.

What is a Phlebotomy Technician?

Phlebotomy Technicians, also called Phlebotomists, draw blood from patients for medical testing, transfusions, research or blood donations. They explain the procedure to patients to help them feel comfortable and answer any questions they may have. Phlebotomy Technicians locate a vein using a tourniquet, then clean the area with an antiseptic before inserting a needle. They draw the required amount of blood, then label and store the sample according to the required specifications. Phlebotomy Technicians may also process and analyze blood samples. They may work in hospitals, blood banks, clinics or private practices.

Pharmacy Technician vs. Phlebotomy Technician

Here are the main differences between a pharmacy technician and a phlebotomy technician.

Job Duties

Although both of these roles involve working alongside medical professionals to help patients receive the care they need, their specific duties can differ. A pharmacy technicians’ job responsibilities may include preparing medication orders, organizing and maintaining pharmaceutical supplies and equipment and operating medication distribution systems.

In contrast, a phlebotomist’s primary job responsibility is drawing blood from patients for testing and analysis. They often work with doctors and nurses to ensure that patients receive the most appropriate forms of treatment based on test results.

Job Requirements

Pharmacy technicians typically need a high school diploma or equivalent to enter the field. Some states also require certification, which can be obtained through completing an accredited program and passing an exam. Many community colleges offer pharmacy technician programs that last around six months.

Phlebotomy technicians usually need a high school diploma or equivalent as well. They may also need to complete an accredited phlebotomy training program and pass an exam to earn certification. Phlebotomy technician programs typically last around three months.

Work Environment

Pharmacy technicians and phlebotomists work in different environments. Pharmacy technicians typically work in pharmacies, hospitals or other medical facilities. They may also work for pharmaceutical companies to ensure that medications are prepared correctly and distributed safely.

Phlebotomists usually work in laboratories, doctor’s offices, blood donation centers or other locations where they can draw blood from patients. Phlebotomists who work in laboratories often spend most of their time working with test tubes and equipment rather than interacting directly with patients.


Both pharmacy technicians and phlebotomy technicians need to have excellent customer service skills. They will be working with patients who may be experiencing anxiety or pain and will need to be able to put them at ease. Communication skills are also important, as they will need to be able to understand the needs of the patient and relay that information to the pharmacist or doctor.

Pharmacy technicians need to have strong organizational skills as they will be responsible for keeping track of inventory and organizing medications. They also need to have good attention to detail to ensure that they are filling prescriptions correctly. Phlebotomy technicians need to have good manual dexterity as they will be responsible for drawing blood from patients. They also need to have a good understanding of human anatomy to ensure that they are taking the correct amount of blood from the right location.


The average salary for a pharmacy technician is $41,705 per year, while the average salary for a phlebotomy technician is $39,643 per year. Both of these salaries can vary depending on the state in which you work, the type of employer you work for and your level of experience.


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