Phlebotomy Certification – How to Get Certified
Now that you’ve committed yourself to becoming a phlebotomist, you’ll need to focus on the steps you need to take to become certified. Because of the high-risk nature of phlebotomy, due to work with bodily fluids and hazardous materials, the field has become highly regulated. While regulations vary from state to state, this generally means you must complete a minimum number of hours of training (including clinical practice) before you can obtain your formal certification and begin working.
Complete a Phlebotomy Training Program
Before you can obtain your certification, you must completely a phlebotomy training program. The length of the program can vary from anywhere from 4 months to a full year. This will depend on if you are going to school full-time or part-time and if you are including extra training, like with an Associate’s Degree program. Generally a program at a vocational or career training school will be shorter than a program offered by a two year college.
Make sure that the program you choose will prepare you to meet your state’s certification requirements. Your best bet is to research the phlebotomy certification organizations and find out which programs they approve or are considered accredited. If you do not take a course that is approved by one of the major phlebotomy organizations, you may not be allowed to sit for your certification exam.
The Phlebotomy Certification Exam
There are several professional organizations that cater to the needs of massage therapists, but the three most respected are the American Society for Clinical Pathology, the Association for Phlebotomy Technicians, and the National Phlebotomy Association.
While all three organizations have slightly different regulations for certification and continuing education, we’ll look at the National Phlebotomy Association as an example. You can expect to be asked for the following information when you register for your exam:
- If you are a phlebotomy student entering the field for the first time, you must present proof that you have completed a formal education program. The program must include at least 160 hours of lecture and practical time as well as 200 hours of practice on mannequins and/or in a clinical setting. You must provide a certificate showing you completed your program.
- Proof of identification, such as a driver’s license or passport.
The examination itself is scheduled to last approximately 3 hours. There is a two-hour written portion and a one-hour practical portion. You must pass both portions with a score of at least 70% to obtain your formal certification.
Alternatives to Formal Training
There is one exception to the certification exam. Healthcare providers who already have phlebotomy duties as part of their job descriptions can apply for a certification without taking a program or an exam. The rules for reclamation under this provision state that you must be currently employed and have at least one full year of paid or volunteer experience (clinical practice time does not count). Your employer must write a letter certifying your length of employment and will then be given a proficiency examination form to complete. Once that is done, the organization will complete your application.
While the procedure may vary slightly from organization to organization, you can expect to encounter similar steps no matter which one you choose. Do your homework and make sure you are affiliating yourself with a phlebotomy organization you trust. You’ll be glad you took the necessary steps to obtain a formal certification!