Our guide will be providing a comprehensive insight into  How to Become a Phlebotomist in the United States. According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics the –

 “Employment of phlebotomists is projected to grow 23 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations. Hospitals, diagnostic laboratories, blood donor centers, and other locations will need phlebotomists to perform bloodwork.”

These statistics show that Phlebotomy is a HIGH IN DEMAND career path for anyone looking to get into the healthcare industry. Not to mention, this will also be a great platform to transition into more progressive roles within the healthcare industry later on in your career should you wish to.

To help you along your journey, our career guide explores areas such as educational requirements, roles and duties of Phlebotomists, career paths to salaries, and a breakdown of the certified Phlebotomy examination.


Table of Contents

What Does A Phlebotomist Do?
Overview Of The Steps To Become A Phlebotomist (CHART)
Phlebotomist Educational Requirements And Prerequisites
Top Rated Phlebotomy Certification Agencies
Phlebotomy Continuing Educational Requirements
Renewing Your Phlebotomy Certification
Understanding The National Phlebotomy Certification Exam
How to Transfer Phlebotomy Certification to Another State
Phlebotomist Career Paths
Phlebotomy Technician Salary
Phlebotomist Technician Industry Statistics
Phlebotomist Technician Earning Potential by State
Phlebotomist Technicians Highest Paying US Cities
Choosing The BEST Phlebotomy Technician Program For You
Search Certified Phlebotomy Technician Jobs In Your Area
Additional Resources


What Does A Phlebotomist Do?

In the United States, there is a growing demand for Phlebotomist Technicians. The projected growth is 23 percent from 2018 to 2028, and this is considered a much faster growth rate than the average for all occupations. In essence, as a Phlebotomy Technician, you will be a vital part of the healthcare/medical system responsible for obtaining patient specimens. Some of your duties will include the following:

Collecting blood samples from patients and blood donors

Assessing a patients’ ability to adhere to the procedure

Explaining blood-drawing procedures and being able to answer patient questions

Performing primary point of care testing, such as blood glucose levels

Collecting blood, urine and other specimens for testing

Verifying the identity of the patient/donor

Maintaining medical equipment including needles, test tubes, and blood vials


Overview Of The Steps To Become A Phlebotomist (CHART)

 





Phlebotomist Educational Requirements And Prerequisites

Before you can become ELIGIBLE for the Phlebotomy Technician Certification exam, you will need to SUCCESSFULLY complete the educational requirements. The good news is unlike other certifications that only have one (1) pathway to becoming licensed, Phlebotomists have several routes.

The EXACT requirements will depend on the CERTIFICATION agency; however, below are the standard requirements common amongst all agencies (with the EXCEPTION of the STATE of CaliforniaClick here for their Eligibility Requirements).

Now, let’s explore each route below:

ROUTE 1

Applicant MUST be a high school graduate or equivalent AND MUST HAVE

SUCCESSFULLY graduated from an APPROVED National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS) Phlebotomy program within the last five (5) years.

PLEASE NOTE: The education completed from a NAACLS approved Phlebotomy Technician (PBT) program is acceptable for a period of five years from the date of completion/graduation of that program. After five years, the applicant’s eligibility will be based on clinical laboratory experience, as stated in the current examination eligibility requirements.

ROUTE 2

Applicant MUST be a high school graduate or equivalent AND MUST HAVE

SUCCESSFULLY completed within the LAST five (5) years a two (2) part formal structured phlebotomy program. The two (2) part program, MUST consist of the following:

1) 40-clock hours of classroom training that includes physiology and anatomy of the human circulatory system. Your training MUST also consist of specimen collection (including venipuncture and skin punctures), specimen processing and handling, and laboratory operations (e.g. safety, quality control, etc.), Next,

2) You MUST have complete 100-clock hours of clinical training/orientation in an ACCREDITED laboratory. You MUST be able to demonstrate a minimum performance of 100 successful unaided venipunctures.

Acceptable Clinical Laboratory Accreditation: CMS CLIA certificate of registration, compliance, accreditation; OR JCI accreditation; OR Accreditation under ISO 15189.

PLEASE NOTE: An applicant should only apply for the Phlebotomy Technician Certification exam after successful completion of the structured program.

ROUTE 3

Applicant MUST be a high school graduate or equivalent AND MUST HAVE

One (1) year of full-time employment as a Phlebotomy Technician or equivalent (35 hours per week). During your one (1) year of full-time working experience, you MUST have worked under the direct supervision of a primary health care provider, certified or licensed physician within the past FIVE (5) years. Your experience MUST include the following – venipunctures and skin punctures.

PLEASE NOTE:  Your employer will be required to complete and SUBMIT a copy of the Phlebotomy Technician Certification Qualification by Experience form.

ROUTE 4

Applicant MUST be a high school graduate or equivalent AND MUST HAVE

SUCCESSFULLY completed a Registered Nurse (RN), Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program, OR

SUCCESSFULLY graduated from an acceptable Allied Health Professional and/or Occupational program, for example, Phlebotomy training and orientation in an accredited laboratory. You MUST be able to demonstrate a minimum performance of 100 successful unaided venipunctures WITHIN the last five (5) years.

PLEASE NOTE:  An applicant MUST submit a copy of their current RN or LPN state license. The applicant can also SUBMIT a certificate of completion from the accredited allied health program.

Phlebotomy Certification Agencies

Below you will find a listing of the MOST popular agencies that offer the applicable Phlebotomy Technician Certification examination. We encourage that you familiarize yourself with each of the agency requirements, differences, and commonalities. Subsequently, this will enable you to assess whether your working experience and educational requirements are in line with the prerequisites of the applicable agency.


Top Rated Phlebotomy Certification Agencies

American Certification Agency (ACA)
National Health Association (NHA)
American Medical Technologists (AMT)
American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT)
National Phlebotomy Association (NPA)


Phlebotomy Continuing Educational Requirements

The Phlebotomy Continuing Education Units/Credits (CEU) required will depend on the Phlebotomy agency you received your certification from. Completing your continuing education requirements is an essential process in getting recertified as a Phlebotomy Technician.

Let’s explore the MOST popular accredited Phlebotomy agencies and their requirements for your certification to remain eligible.

1) American Certification Agency (ACA)

Complete 0.5 continuing education hours per month since you became certified

One hour of continuing education credit equals one contact hour of credit. For example: If you have been certified for 18 months, you need 0.5 hours x 18 months or nine (9) continuing education credits.

2) National Health Association (NHA)

Complete ten (10) CE credits every two years and complete the renewal process to keep your certification current.

Two (2) hours of continuing education = 1 NHA continuing education credit.

3) American Medical Technologists (AMT)

Certification is a 3-year cycle with an annual fee that maintains your status year to year. Continuing Education Units (CEU) required – 24, Or

Recertify by exam

4) American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)

Total Number of CEU Points Required: 9 –  (1 point in laboratory or patient safety (i.e., quality control, quality assurance, 2 points in phlebotomy, Remaining points in the area(s) of lab specialty, management, education, or other related laboratory areas of interest)

Upon successful completion of the program, you will receive a three-year renewal notification for your credential.

5) National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT)

Recertification with NCCT is required annually. The requirements are 14 contact hours (CH) of continuing education annually, Or

Complete continuing education units (CEU) outside of the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT). Please see the Outside CE Policy for more information

6) National Phlebotomy Association (NPA)

You must renew your certification annually to remain compliant and to avoid any fees or penalties for paying past your renewal date. You can renew your certification at the following link Renew Certification.





Renewing Your Phlebotomy Certification

As just mentioned above, continuing education units are required for your certification to remain active and imperative for you to be able to RENEW your Phlebotomy certification.

Please read section – Phlebotomy Continuing Education Requirements and visit the applicable agency relevant to you for more information.


Understanding The National Phlebotomy Certification Exam

Each one of the Accredited Phlebotomy certification agencies below has its own specific examination structure i.e. registration process, fee, and scoring. We’ll provide a brief OVERVIEW of each one below.

1) American Certification Agency (ACA)

Register for the examination by filling out this application. Applications must be completed, signed and received at least 15 days before the scheduled examination date

Pay exam fee of $100.00.

Examination study guides and content outlines will be sent to approved applicants.

2) National Health Association (NHA)

Once eligible, you can apply for the Phlebotomy certification exam by creating an NHA account.

Pay exam fee of $117.00.

The exam consists of 120 questions (100 questions and 20 pretest questions). To learn more about the National Health Association (NHA) exam scoring method, please view the Candidate Handbook

3) American Medical Technologists (AMT)

Once eligible, you can apply to SIT for the Phlebotomy certification exam by creating an AMT account. After, please visit PearsonVUE to select a testing location near you.

Pay exam fee of $120.00.

The exam consists of 200 questions. View exam overview/content here.

To learn more about the American Medical Technologists (AMT) exam scoring method, please view the Candidate Handbook (Page 5 – 6)

4) American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)

Once eligible, you can apply for the Phlebotomy certification exam by creating an ASCP account. Once registered, submit the eligibility application with applicable documentation.

Pay exam fee of $135.00.

Wait for your email notification to login to view your Admission Notice, you may schedule your examination appointment at a Pearson VUE Testing Cente.

The Phlebotomy examination is scheduled for 2 hours with 80 questions. Learn more about the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) exam scoring method, please view the Candidate Handbook (Page 29 – 30)

5) National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT)

Once eligible, you can apply for the Phlebotomy certification exam by creating an NCCT account. All applicable documentation must be submitted 14 days before your anticipated test date.

Pay exam fee of $90.00 – $135.00.

The exam consists of 125 scored items, 25 unscored pretest items, and candidates are allowed three (3) hours to complete the examination.

6) National Phlebotomy Association (NPA)

Once eligible, you can apply for the Phlebotomy certification exam by completing the following application. The application will LIST all the documentation requirements before the certification examination is scheduled.

Pay exam fee of $90.00 – $160.00.

The passing score is 70% (a combination of written and practical parts of the exam).


How to Transfer Phlebotomy Certification to Another State

The Phlebotomy Certification is a Nationally recognized qualification, and therefore can be used across any State. Hence, if you decide to relocate to another STATE at any point, your certification will remain valid. No forms or recertifications exams are required. However, for the State of California, please visit the California Department of Public Health as their rules and regulations MAY differ from the rest of the STATES.


Phlebotomist Career Paths

The fact the healthcare industry is growing, means you have many opportunities for advancement as a Certified Phlebotomy Technician. Many people will become Phlebotomy technicians to get their foot in the door and gain the necessary experience to transition into other roles in the healthcare profession. With that said,

Individuals pursuing a career as a Certified Phlebotomy Technician can move on to become medical lab technicians, medical assistants, or LPNs or RNs.

Let’s explore these three options:

Medical Assistants: The experience you gain as a Phlebotomist will allow you to transition into being a Medical Assistant to further your career path. Currently, the average salary for Medical Assistants is $36,145 per year. Some may consider the jump in salary small, but the experience you gain as a Medical Assistant will strengthen your foundation to go into nursing i.e., Certified Nursing Assistant, Licensed Practical Nurse, Registered Nurse.

Medical Lab Technician: As a Phlebotomist, your primary responsibility will be to collect blood samples from a patient. However, as a Medical Lab Technician, you will have greater responsibilities. Medical Lab Technicians not only collect blood samples but prepare the samples for analysis, match the sample for transfusions, and test it for drug levels. The average salary for Medical Lab Technicians is $53,482 per year. The experience you gain as a Phlebotomy technician will allow you to transition into a Medical Lab Technician WITHOUT having to meet some of the standard educational requirements.

LPN or RN: If you have your sights on becoming a nurse, the experience you gain as a Phlebotomist is essential. You will be required to complete further education to go into nursing; however, as a Phlebotomist, your experience will help you with your coursework. Not to mention, nursing schools typically give those with healthcare experience preference during the admission process. Keep in mind, as your gaining experience as a Phlebotomists, your employer MAY allow you to work closely with nurses which will give you more experience in the healthcare environment. Furthermore, this experience can lead to a reduced amount of time required in a training program before you can write your NCLEX licensing exam.





Phlebotomy Technician Salary

The average annual Phlebotomy technician salary is $33,946, with the average Phlebotomy technician hourly pay being $17.96.

Figures are reflective as of June 2020 (Indeed.com)


Phlebotomist Technician Industry Statistics

 

Figures are reflective as of May 2019 (bls.gov)

Figures are reflective as of May 2019 (bls.gov)


Phlebotomist Technician Earning Potential by State

 

Figures are reflective as of May 2019 (bls.gov)


Phlebotomist Technicians Highest Paying US Cities

 

Figures are reflective as of May 2019 (bls.gov)


Choosing The BEST Phlebotomy Technician Program For You

When you’ve decided to become a Phlebotomy Technician, it’s time to choose the right training program for you. You want to ensure that the program you choose will give you the right foundation to NOT only PASS the Phlebotomy Certification examination but excel in your career also. With that said, here are a few factors to consider when choosing a training program:

1) Is your Phlebotomy program available BOTH online and offline? Does it offer flexible studying?

Sometimes your current lifestyle will NOT allow you the flexibility to attend classes on campus, so online training is a GREAT alternative. When it comes time to choosing a Phlebotomy training program, you need to figure out what works BEST for you in terms of your flexibility to attend classes on campus. If you are working full-time or unable to attend class on campus because of personal responsibilities, then attending Phlebotomy classes online, MAYBE a better option. With that said, you need to keep in mind that while you do have the option to attend online Phlebotomy classes, they MAY NOT be as comprehensive as if attending these same classes on-campus. Next, as a Phlebotomist, you will be working directly with patients, so a classroom and lab learning experience may be more worthwhile.

2) How long does it take to complete the Certified Phlebotomy Technician (CPT) program?

Before registering for a program, you need to decide at what pace you would like to complete your Phlebotomy training. There are both full-time and part-time programs available to you, with some programs providing the opportunity to complete your training at an accelerated rate. Therefore, the faster you complete your training, the sooner you can SIT for the Phlebotomy certification exam and enter the workforce. However, we still recommend you consider your day to day responsibilities before selecting a full-time or part-time program. Even though, a full time accelerated training program will be compact and much shorter to complete, it may be intense and overwhelming for some individuals. So, always consider the pros and cons of both learning styles before making your final choice.

3) Is your program your applying to accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS)?

Accreditation is an essential factor to consider when choosing your Phlebotomy program.  Accreditation ensures that not only is your learning and tuition in line with nationally recognized best practice guidelines/standards but also ensures that you have been given the best access to the appropriate skills and knowledge needed to carry out your role as Phlebotomist. Naturally, employers will give preference to those individuals who have opted for a program that has been accredited. Hence, make accreditation a priority. Apart from NAACLS, the National Phlebotomy Association is also another accredited body amongst several others.

4) Will the Phlebotomy training program offer opportunities to transition into other progressive roles or further education?

Ideally, you want to be associated with a program offered by an institution that will help you to transition into other progressive areas of opportunity later in your career. Even if you wish to remain a Phlebotomist throughout your career, the potential to transition into other roles should not be entirely dismissed. For example, you may decide later that you want to excel further, so already having the foundation to grow/transition would now be an asset. Hence, you should consider applying to those institutions where bridge programs are offered, such as the ones offered by NPA (i.e. The National Phlebotomy Association). They offer, for example, a Certified Phlebotomy Instructor (CPI) certification. This program is specifically designed to enable already certified professionals to transition into teaching Phlebotomy should they wish to in order to further their career. (https://www.nationalphlebotomy.org/Instructor)

5) Are there any applicable student reviews/ratings about the Phlebotomy Program?

Checking the ratings/reviews of the Phlebotomy program should be a priority because you want to learn from the BEST in the business. Programs that are highly rated will naturally have access to high-quality resources, knowledge, tutors, and will overall provide you with a more thorough learning experience. The good news is, you can research student ratings/reviews online, or you can speak to fellow students about their learning experience. This research should aid you in choosing the right Phlebotomy program for you.


Search Certified Phlebotomy Technician Jobs In Your Area



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