Phlebotomy Certification: Ultimate Guide
Learn everything about certifying agencies, their requirements and costs.
Learn everything about certifying agencies, their requirements and costs.
Obtaining a 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.
There are ten credentialing organizations that offer certifications for phlebotomists in the US (sorted top-to-bottom by popularity):
|American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)||Phlebotomy Technician, PBT (ASCP)|
|National Healthcareer Association (NHA)||NHA Certified Phlebotomy Technician, CPT (NHA)|
|American Medical Technologists (AMT)||AMT Registered Phlebotomy Technician, RPT (AMT)|
|American Association of Bioanalysts (AAB) Board of Registry (ABOR)||Medical Technologist, MT(AAB); Medical Laboratory Technician, MLT(AAB)|
|National Phlebotomy Association (NPA)||NPA Certified Phlebotomist Technologist (NPA-CPT)|
|American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians (ASPT)||Phlebotomy Technician Certificate|
|American Medical Certification Association (AMCA)||Phlebotomy Technician Certification (PTC)|
|American Certification Agency for Healthcare Professionals (ACA)||American Certification Agency for Healthcare Professionals (ACA)|
|American Allied Health (AAH)||Phlebotomy Technician Certificate|
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.
According to our phlebotomy salary research, average salary of ASCP-certified phlebotomists is around $30,000.
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:
Exam details: 2 hours to complete, 80 questions, multiple choice.
Application fee: $135
More info: ASCP official website
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:
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:
The basic requirements for all of the above are similar:
This is the most basic certification level that is not popular among graduates of phlebotomy programs. That’s 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.
Requirements to accomplish this level are basic (GED, 20 hours of classes with certificate of accomplishment), PLUS:
CPT 1 is the minimal level of certification you want to obtain from NHA (National Healthcareer Association).
This what most employers want a prospective candidate to have.
To achieve this level of certification, you can have no experience, less than 1040 hours of experience, or more. Requirements differ for each of these options:
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.
Written examination is required to pass a CPT 1, regardless of the route you take (no experience, less that 1040 hours or more).
CPT is the most advanced level of certification for phlebotomists that NHA offers at the moment. It will make sense to get one in case it’s required by your employer or voluntarily as you are practicing already. To get one, you will need to satisfy basic requirements, plus:
What is interesting, phlebotomists with this kind of certification get the best salary – $34,000, in average.
There are three routes to eligibility for this certification and you should follow one of them:
Successful graduation of accredited phlebotomy training course in the last four years.
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.
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
More info: AMT official website
While not offering phlebotomy-specific certifications, ABOR certifications are still very popular among phlebotomists working in clinical labs and taking additional responsibilities.
Established in 1956 (which makes it one of the oldest in the industry), American Association of Bioanalysts Board of Registry offers two certifications that are desirable for those technicians who look to expand their skillset in a laboratory setting:
Both of the above don’t test phlebotomy skills and knowledge specifically. However, they include subjects like chemistry, hematology, immunology, immunohematology, microbiology, andrology, embryology, molecular diagnostics.
More info: AAB website
NPA is reputable organization in the field of phlebotomy which was founded in 1978 and now offers certifications for phlebotomy technicians, instructors and accredits training programs.
In our case, we’re interested in their Certified Phlebotomist Technologist certification, details for which you can find below.
Examination details: 2-hour written exam with 50 multiple-choice questions
Application Fee: $135
More info: official NPA website.
ASPT has established itself as a reputable organization in the field of phlebotomy. Unlike many others, ASPT certification includes practical phase, not only theory. Maintaining of this certification means completing six hours of continuing education per year (provided by the organization, P.A.C.E. approved).
To be admitted for the exam, you will need one of the following:
After that, regardless of the route you take, you also need to present the following:
AMCA is accredited by National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) to offer their phlebotomy certification. Their PTC certification includes theory exam only without clinical practice test.
Examination details: 2-hour written exam with 100 multiple-choice questions
Application Fee: $109
AMCA also gives you a chance to sit a so-called combo exam, where you can combine phlebotomy certification with that of EKG Technician and Patient Care technician, for a reduced fee.
More info: AMCA website.
ACA is one of the few agencies that offers online phlebotomy certification exam. However, you will still need to accomplish a practical part of exam in a hospital or a lab.
Examination details: online assessment along with practical part in hospital setup.
Application Fee: $100
More info on ACA website.
AAH is a private California-based company that offers certifications in a number of allied health occupations, including phlebotomy.
To be eligible for certification exam you need to satisfy one of the following:
Examination details: exam can be taken either online or at one of the AAH-affiliated testing centres.
Application Fee: $105
More info: AAH website
Getting formal education in phlebotomy is not always necessary. Some organizations have so-called Experience Route when you can be eligible for exam by having relevant work experience (usually 1 year or more).
At the same time, graduating from a phlebotomy training course (or any similar allied health training) will broaden your certification opportunities and chances to get certified. Many schools have arrangements with certifying agencies, so that upon graduation their students are automatically registered for a certification exam.
Very often these three terms (certificate, certification and licensing) are confused. As a result, prospective phlebotomists don’t know which one they need. Here’s the difference:
Certificate – is the type of degree program (just like associate’s, master’s or bachelor’s). When graduating from this type of program, you get a certificate.
Certification – this is a voluntary process of independent third-party verification of knowledge and skills you have received during your training at a phlebotomy program. When you pass certification, you become a certified phlebotomist and receive a designated credential of a specific organization where you have passed your certification exam.
This is what many employers want in their candidates – knowledge and skills verified through independent third-party source.
License – this is often referred to as ‘state license’ or ‘state accreditation’. Some states (California, Nevada or Louisiana) require phlebotomists to get a license before entering the workforce. To get a state license, in majority of cases you need to get certification through one of the state-approved agencies.
Usually, there’s no state-administered test or exam on top of the certifying exam. So, the process is pretty straightforward: first, you pass certification exam through an organization like ASCP, get your certification and pass it on to your state’s department of public health. After that, you are awarded state license.
Yes, there are two organizations that currently offer examination to be taken in online form – American Allied Health (AAH) and American Certification Agency for Healthcare Professionals (ACA). The latter, however will also require to take practical part of exam in a hospital or lab setup.
Most reputable certifying agencies, however, will require you to do an exam in an accredited testing center.
When it comes to certificate training programs in phlebotomy, many of them are offered as online curriculum, while clinical practice will be arranged with designated institutions.
The best phlebotomy certification is either the one required by your employer or the one that will verify advanced knowledge and skills. We suggest to opt for the most known and reputable certifications out there, provided by the following organizations:
By saying that we don’t want to demean the value of five other reputable agencies mentioned in our guide above. It’s just that these five have established themselves as standards in the industry, and are therefore, most wished for by prospective employers.
Usually, yes. Exact requirements are specific for each certifying body. However, the process is usually the following: