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Last updated: October 5, 2021

As the baby boomers enter retirement, the healthcare industry is growing faster than ever. And phlebotomists are in high demand now, more than ever. Every type of healthcare institution needs people who can safely and quickly draw blood. From emergency care units to outpatient services, hospitals and healthcare providers keep skilled phlebotomy technicians on hand.

Anyone wishing to enter this exciting field must receive a certification from the American Phlebotomy Association. They must also quality for registry in the American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians. Because new phlebotomists must have these certifications, training programs to become a phlebotomist are highly standardized. Most students can complete a training program in a number of months and enter the job market quickly.

Phlebotomy certification often provides a student a career stepping stone. Certified phlebotomy techs routinely use their skills to break into the medical industry and pursue advanced nursing or medical careers. A phlebotomy certification is also an attractive way to stand out among other job candidates.

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Ground Schools

Ground schools offer future phlebotomists the added benefit of hands-on training. In practical and laboratory settings students learn to use and care for medical equipment. They practice capillary and vein punctures and demonstrate mastery of various techniques. Students might also learn other practical procedures, like preparing samples for testing and on-site glucose testing.

Ground schools also teach students human anatomy and physiology through laboratory practicals that involve practical training and study. In this way, students who attend ground schools have the added confidence of real-world, practical experience in their field before they ever begin a day at work.

In many cases, students at ground schools also complete an externship as part of their training. With real-world experience, students graduate with an advantage over other job seekers, because they can boast about their true-to-life training. Students completing career-related externships also have the opportunity to meet and network with prospective employers.

Online Schools

Online phlebotomy schools provide customization options that allow individuals and employers to tailor education to meet specific needs. Because many people in the medical field work nontraditional hours, the benefit of an online school is that students can access coursework 24 hours a day.

Some online programs complement their virtual training with a laboratory experience. Schools that offer online programming for an entire department or hospital, arrange for travel to the students’ location for a day of practical experience. In other cases, virtual schools assign students a mentor in the local medical community to assist them with practical experience and feedback for improvement.

Virtual schools occasionally allow students to substitute practical experience in exchange for required, academic laboratory work. In these circumstances, students must show proof of their practical experience in order to obtain certification.

Although a student can complete most of their degree online, a she still needs some practical experience in order to sit for the certification exam. Some online training programs do not offer students the practical experience they need in order to become eligible for a license. For employed students who are able to continue training with their employer in a medical setting, this is not a problem. Still, students looking to break into the field of phlebotomy should carefully consider the pros and cons of an online program and ensure that the online program meets their licensing objectives.

Certificate Programs

Most phlebotomy programs do not require prior medical experience. In that way, phlebotomy programs provide students the opportunity to enter the medical field at the ground level. Although prior experience is not required, entering students must have a high-school diploma or a GED.

Some schools require a student to have CPR training before beginning a phlebotomy course and other schools offer CPR training as part of their mandatory coursework. Depending on the school, the student might also need to submit a social security number because licensing agencies sometimes use the social security number for identification. In addition, some schools in the United States require a student to provide English-language fluency.

Typically, a student that completes a phlebotomy course receives a certification. This can happen in as little as a few months with dedicated study.

Associate's Degrees

Schools offering phlebotomy programs also offer additional training opportunities in the medical industry. For example, some schools that offer phlebotomy certifications offer associate’s degrees in a variety of health-related topics, including health information and technology and health office management.

A student looking for this well-rounded experience might use an associate’s degree as a way to stand out from other candidates looking for pursue phlebotomy. Prospective employers appreciate a student’s exposure to a wide variety of topics in the healthcare industry, and a licensed phlebotomist with an associate’s degree enjoys additional career options and an advantage over other applicants.

An associate’s degree typically requires two years of full-time study but many schools have part-time programs or they allow students to attend school year-round.

Bachelor's Degrees

A bachelor’s degree with a certification in phlebotomy allows a student to work at the highest levels in the delivery of medical services and healthcare administration. A student might earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing with a phlebotomy certificate. A bachelor’s degree qualifies the student to work in a wide range of departments within a hospital or medical-care facility.

A bachelor’s degree in health and wellness or health-care administration also makes a student highly desirable to prospective employers because the student has a diverse and in-depth background in the medical industry.


After a student completes a certificate course in phlebotomy, they must pass an exam in order to receive a license to draw blood. The student must sit for the exam within five years of completing their certificate in phlebotomy.

To be eligible to sit for the phlebotomy exam, a student must complete at least 30 vein punctures and 10 capillary sticks on live people. For most students, this experience comes during practical lab work and externship experience.

How Much Does Phlebotomy Training Program Cost?

The cost of your phlebotomy training program can depend on various factors. We have tried to figure how much you will need to pay for your phlebotomy education.

The major factor that determines final cost of a degree is a type of program you choose – whether it’s campus-based program, or online. There are combined degrees that offer theoretical part of curriculum online, but still arrange practice in real healthcare facilities. These stand somewhere in the middle in terms of costs, but are quite rare.

What about online and in-campus degrees, which are more common, the difference in tuition costs can be very significant. There is an obvious explanation: while online schools don’t spend much, ground schools need to invest in training equipment, arrangement of practical training with hospitals and laboratories, pay professors, etc.

What is more important, there’s a difference in how potential employers percept online and regular degrees. The table below will help you understand an approximate breakdown:

DegreeApproximate Cost
CertificateTypical cost is between $2,000 and $4,000. An additional fee applies to sit for the phlebotomy certification exam.
Associate’sThe cost of an associate’s degree varies from $8,000 to $20,000, depending on the school and the specific program. Grants, scholarships and loans help deserving students pay tuition expenses.
Bachelor’sA bachelor’s degree typically requires four years of devoted study. Costs to earn a bachelor’s degree range from $15,000 to $40,000, depending on the school and the specific program. This cost does not include living expenses, licensing costs or costs to sit for certification exams.

You can also view detailed program data by state:

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