Obtaining your national phlebotomy certification can lead to a rewarding career. Before taking your certification exam, you must first complete an accredited phlebotomy program including the required clinical work hours. To be eligible for a phlebotomy program, you must be at least 18 years of age, be a legal resident of the United States, and have received your high school diploma or GED (high school equivalency certificate). After completing your classroom education and logging the required hours of on the job experience, you are eligible to take the certification exam.
There are several exams to choose from, but state laws and regulations may dictate which exam you should take for your particular state. Each certification program will have their individual application requirements, rules and exams. With each accredited program, you can earn a designation of Certified Phlebotomy Technician (CPT), Phlebotomy Technician (PBT), Registered Phlebotomy Technician (RPT), or the National Certified Phlebotomy Technician (NCPT).
Each designation simply refers to which accredited organization sponsored the national certification program. One designation does not indicate that you are trained in any specialty and all designations received the same accredited training and education. If you would like to take your phlebotomy skills a step further, one option is to gain clinical experience in a donor blood bank where you can earn the designation of Donor Phlebotomy Technician (DBT).
Accredited National Phlebotomy Certification and Training Organizations
National Healthcareer Association (NHA) is an accredited organization that specializes in aiding those who which to obtain a career in the healthcare field. This organization can help you select NHA accredited programs in your area for your field of choice. They will also help you prepare and register for your national phlebotomy certification exam in your state. Once you pass your certification exam, through the National Healthcareer Association, you can earn the credentials of Certified Phlebotomy Technician (CPT).
The American Society of Clinical Pathologists (ASCP) is an accredited organization that specializes in only certifying only those interested in receiving a career in the laboratory setting, including phlebotomy. The ASCP is the largest organization in certifying laboratory professionals. With the ASCP, qualification comes to those through post secondary education (usually an associate’s degree), and work experience. Individuals who obtain a certificate of completion from an ASCP accredited program tend to have to do less on the job experience than those who do not. Just as with the NHA programs, the ASCP will also assist you in choosing an accredited program and registering for your national phlebotomy certification exam. Once you pass your exam, your certification credentials will be Phlebotomy Technician by American Society of Clinical Pathologists (PBTASCP).
NAACLS MLT Certification
National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS) is an accredited organization the assists those who wish to enter a career path in the laboratory sciences such as histology and pathology. Although they are primarily known for such designations as a Medical Licensed Technician (MLT) and Pathologist, which require bachelor’s degrees and various other requirements, they now offer assistance in obtaining phlebotomy certifications as well.
American Medical Technologists (AMT) is an accredited organization that also sponsors national certification exams and has AMT accredited training programs. Although the education is the same, the AMT tends to require more clinical hours performed, usually 1,040, before you can qualify to take the exam. AMT exams cover 8 areas of phlebotomy including patient care, clerical skills and safety procedures. The AMT will give a designation of Registered Phlebotomy Technician (RPT).
American Society of Clinical Sciences (ASCLS) is an accredited organization that focuses on careers based in a clinical setting. Unlike the ASCP, post secondary work is not required. Clinical hours required may be anywhere from 500 to 1,000 hours before you qualify for certification exam. Your credentialing will be Phlebotomy Technician (PBT).
National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT) is an independent organization with no affiliation to any other organization and does not recommend any programs for training. However, they will assist you in registering for your national phlebotomy exam and you will earn the designation of National Certified Phlebotomy Technician (NCPT).
Online National Phlebotomy Certification
Although obtaining phlebotomy education and training is possible online, it is important to note that hospitals do NOT recognize online classes as an accredited and approved programs. If working at a hospital is not your objective, however, then online education and training may be a viable option for you. Keep in mind, that it may limit some of the job possibilities and you will still have to fulfill all clinical work hours required to qualify for national phlebotomy certification exam. Once again, the credentials that you receive will depend on which accredited organization that you choose.
Some states require that phlebotomists be licensed in order to draw blood in their state and may require additional educational programs in conjunction with becoming a nationally certified phlebotomist. These states include, as of 2011: Hawaii, North Dakota, Georgia, Montana, California, Nevada, Tennessee, Rhode Island, West Virginia, Louisiana, The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and New York. Check with your state officials to find the requirements for your state.