Phlebotomy certification is available in the US through a number of different organizations. Each organization has its own exam and specific requirements for applicants wanting to take the exam. In addition to these trade group organizations, there are also some states with their own certification requirements. Here is an overview of how to become a licensed phlebotomist.
It is still possible to have a career in phlebotomy in many states without a license. How long that will be an option is anyone’s guess. Even someone who is currently working in the field in a state that does not require licensing should consider taking one of the certification tests and check into a course that helps with test preparation.
There is no real job security for a phlebotomist that is not certified or licensed. The steps to becoming certified are relatively simple. There is training and testing.
If you have not worked in the field, you would be wise to find a program that offers complete phlebotomist training. Courses are offered by local community colleges and nationwide schools like Kaplan.
A complete program includes education in the medical theories behind phlebotomy followed by training in the collection of blood through needles or dermal pricks. In order to take a phlebotomy certification test, applicants are required to have experience in successfully drawing blood from a number of different patients.
Certification tests are administered by several different organizations including:
- The Association of Phlebotomy Technicians
- The National Phlebotomy Association
- The American Society for Clinical Pathology’s Board of Certification
- The American Medical Technologists
- The American Credentialing Agency
- The National Center for Competency Testing
- The National Health Career Association
- The American Association of Medical Assistants
Each organization has different requirements that must be completed prior to taking the test. Applications are available directly from the organizations and from other sources. For example, schools that offer phlebotomy training typically work closely with one or more of the organizations.
The last organization, the American Association of Medical Assistants, is not strictly a phlebotomy certification. The medical assistant’s examination includes a section on phlebotomy. Certified medical assistants often fill the role of phlebotomists along with their other duties. Individual doctors and hospitals too usually prefer to hire someone with multiple skills.
Examples of Phlebotomy Certification Requirements
While the things you need to have completed before you take a test vary, there are some similarities. This section looks at some of the things that different organizations require. Even though it is relatively simple, there is more to becoming a licensed phlebotomist than completing an educational program and passing a test.
In order to take an organization’s phlebotomy certification test, you must apply to become a member of the organization and pay the membership fee, as well as the fee for testing. Any number of benefits may accompany professional membership in one of the organizations. Most organizations offer continuing education, seminars, meetings, newsletters and frame-worthy certificates.
An internship is sometimes arranged by the college that offers the phlebotomy training program. Typically, the internship begins in the second semester in one year programs and in the third or fourth semester of two year programs.
During the internship, the student gets lots of practice drawing blood and dealing with patients. Dealing with patients is an important part of the phlebotomist’s job. Children and adults may be afraid of needles. The person’s medical condition may be difficult to observe. Getting this kind of experience is essential.
Some organizations require just a few hours in the classroom. Others require as much as 40 hours stretched out over the course of a period of several weeks. There are accelerated programs that can help you get the classroom hours you need for phlebotomy certification in the shortest period of time.
Some organizations approve applicants that have worked in the field for 1000 hours or more during the last three years. In other words, it could be possible for you to take the test without completing additional education.
Just be sure you are prepared for the test. Most organizations limit the number of times that a student can fail the phlebotomy certification test and still be allowed to retake it without additional education.