Phlebotomy Certification. Ultimate Guide

Obtaining certification is a great opportunity for a phlebotomist who just starts his/her career, since it increases chances of getting a job and can improve starting salary.

For California, Nevada and Louisiana getting certification is a must – without it you can’t practice phlebotomy.

Basically, there are five main certifications for phlebotomists in the US:

AgencyTitleInitialsLink
National Healthcareer AssociationCertified Phlebotomy TechnicianCPT (NHA)Click
American Society for Clinical PathologyPhlebotomy TechnicianPBT (ASCP)Click
American Medical TechnologistsRegistered Phlebotomy TechnicianRPT (AMT)Click
National Center for Competency TestingNational Certified Phlebotomy TechnicianNCPT (NCCT)Click
American Certification AgencyCertified Phlebotomy TechnicianCPT (ACA)Click

Also, people with matching certifications, like certified nursing assistants – CNA’s, or certified medical assistants – CMA’s can draw blood from patients, but here we will talk only about people who have received phlebotomy education, and now look for the prospects of certification. Now, let’s define how they are different.

General requirement for completing a certification is having a high-school diploma or its equivalent. In addition, you can become certified either through Education route (this means you have to accomplish accredited phlebotomy training program), or through Experience route, in case you have worked as phlebotomist for 6 months, full-time, or more. Detailed requirements for each of them you can find below.

NHA Certified Phlebotomy Technician – CPT(NHA)

This is probably the most popular certification in the field right now. You can find a CPT abbreviation in almost any job listing for phlebotomy vacancies. As with other kinds of certifications, being a CPT (Certified Phlebotomy Technician), your main duty will be drawing blood from patients. You can work in a hospital, blood center, or similar medical establishment. As a CPT, your job duties will include, but will not be limited to:

  • Executing basic procedures in phlebotomy
  • Answering patient’s questions along with evaluating whether a patient can be taken through venipuncture procedure at a given moment
  • Preparing blood, urine or other specimens for tests according to given standards
  • Accomplish first-point testing. Example: evaluating the glucose level in patient’s blood

What are the benefits of getting CPT certification?

First of all, this is a basic requirement for many employers, so by obtaining a CPT certification your chances of being employed increase drastically.

Furthermore, if you’re working as phlebotomy technician already, CPT certification will help you increase salary.

Not to mention better job security, and most importantly, more skills and expertise in phlebotomy field.

First of all, this is a basic requirement for many employers, so by obtaining a CPT certification your chances of being employed increase drastically. Furthermore, if you’re working as phlebotomy technician already, CPT certification will help you increase salary. Not to mention better job security, and most importantly, more skills and expertise in phlebotomy field.

Within this certification itself there are following grades:

  • Limited Phlebotomy Technician
  • Certified Phlebotomy Technician 1 (CPT 1)
    • No experience
    • Less than 1040 hours on-the-job experience (OTJE) within the past five years
    • Equal to or greater than 1040 hours OTJE within last 5 years
  • Certified Phlebotomy Technician 2 (CPT 2)

The Basic Requirements for all of the above are similar:

  • High school graduate or GED or Equivalent
  • 20 hours of basic phlebotomy classes
  • Certificate of completion from the phlebotomy training program

Anyway, depending on certification level you want to achieve, there are additional requirements for each level which you can find below:

Limited Phlebotomy Technician

Basic requirements PLUS:

  • 25 skin punctures in hospital setting, performed on real patients. Should be confirmed by a letter or certificate signed by licensed RN (Registered Nurse), MD (Medical Doctor), PA (Physician assistant) or CLS (Clinical Laboratory Scientist).

This is the most basic certification level that is not popular among graduates of phlebotomy programs. This is why people tend to aim for CPT1, at least. This level doesn’t require examination, which is why prospective employers also require CPT1 or CPT2.

Certified Phlebotomy Technician 1 (CPT 1) with NO experience

Basic requirements PLUS:

  • 20 hours of advanced phlebotomy classes
  • 40 hours of training in hospital setup
  • 50 venipuncture and 10 skin punctures
  • in order to become certified, you should pass a written examination.

CPT 1 is the minimal level of certification you want to obtain from NHA (National Healthcareer Association).

CPT 1 with less than 1040 hours of experience

  • 20 hours of advanced phlebotomy classes
  • 50 venipuncture and 10 skin punctures (confirmed by employer, laboratory manager or director)
  • written examination is required

CPT 1 with 1040 hours of experience or more

The only difference compared to the previous level is that you don’t have to complete 20 hours of basic phlebotomy classes, which is a basic requirement. You should also pass a written examination.

Certified Phlebotomy Technician 2 (CPT 2)

Basic requirements PLUS:

  • 20 hours of advanced classes
  • 20 arterial punctures (successful) under a supervision of MD, PA, RN or CLS.

As with CPT 1, in order to complete CPT 2 level, a written phlebotomy examination will be required.

Phlebotomy Techncician, PBT (ASCP)

According to our phlebotomy salary research, average salary of ASCP-certified phlebotomists is around $30,000.

Requirements:

The basic education requirement is high school diploma or equivalent.

Phlebotomy training requirements are quite flexible and will allow you to apply through one of the following routes:

  1. Complete NAACLS-approved phlebotomy program
  2. Formal training that consists of 40 hours of classes and 100 hours of practice in accredited laboratory along with 100 successful skin punctures and venipunctures
  3. 1 year of experience as phlebotomy technician within last 5 years in an accredited laboratory
  4. Accomplished RN, LPN or other medical occupation degree that included phlebotomy training as its part. 100 skin punctures and venipunctures are required
  5. Obtaining other ASCP certifications that include:
    • MLT(ASCP) or MT/MLS(ASCP)
    • DPT(ASCP) and 100 blood collections within last 5 years

Exam details: 2h, 80 questions, multiple choice.

Application fee: $135

AMT Registered Phlebotomy Technician, RPT

What is interesting, phlebotomists with this kind of certification get the best salary – $34,000, in average.

Requirements:

There are three routes to eligibility for this certification and you should follow one of them:

Education

Successful graduation of accredited phlebotomy training course in the last four years

Experience

1040+ hours of experience as phlebotomy technician during last three years. This route requires a high school diploma or equivalent as well

Both Education and Experience routes require an examination.

Recognized examination

Given that you have accomplished other organization’s certification for phlebotomists and are eligible through either Education or Experience route, you can be AMT-certified without examination, by only paying a fee.

Exam details: Examination itself covers basic phlebotomy-related questions that you should be able to answer easily after graduation from a program.

Anyway, it will be useful to learn more about exam using preparation guide and handbooks here.

Application fee: $95

NCCT National Certified Phlebotomy Technician (NCPT)

Requirements:

  • High-school diploma or equivalent

AND:

  • Graduation from NCAA-approved training program

OR

  • 2080 hours or one year of phlebotomy work experience.

Whether you’re applying through education or Experience route, they should be obtaining within last 10 years.

Fees:

  • $90 if you’re currently enrolled to phlebotomy training program or have graduated within last 6 months
  • $135 if not eligible for above

More info on NCCT site here.

ACA Certified Phlebotomy Technician (ACA CPT)

Requirements:

  • High school diploma
  • Completion of phlebotomy training program OR 1 year of experience as phlebotomist
  • Proof of 100 venipunctures, 10 dermal punctures (25 in case you will practice in Louisiana)

Examination details: online assessment along with practical part in hospital setup.

Fee: $100

More info on ACA website.