How to get certified as a phlebotomist

How to get certified as a phlebotomist: What You Need to Know. First of all, Phlebotomy is as important as any other medical profession. In the United States Phlebotomy certification requirements vary state by state. Phlebotomy used to be a skill picked up in one day, but today most phlebotomists in the United States train approximately forty hours in a Phlebotomy certification programs.

Phlebotomy used to be a field that did not require specific skill sets to perform; some states do not even have clear-cut guidelines on the training requirements and qualifications of a phlebotomist. Consequently, some entry-level phlebotomy jobs do not even require a certification if sufficient experience can be demonstrated.

Most states in the US do require a high school diploma or equivalent, followed by at least a six-day phlebotomy certification class. It is not required by law to hire phlebotomists with a degrees but some states require certification. But, some states DO NOT have requirements for phlebotomy personnel. Most medical institutions prefer hiring persons with proper degrees and/or certification. This makes it essential to have completed a Phlebotomy certification program since without a degree or certification you are most likely not going to get considered for employment. Having prior training in this field will give you a edge over others and increase your chances of getting employment. So basically, you’re going to need to get at the very least a Phlebotomy certification.

The very first step in building a great Phlebotomy career is to seek out a good institution for training where you can acquire proper skills as well as your certification. It is crucial, however, to acquire certification even if the state or clinic you work in does not enforce it. The reason has more something to do with accreditation that happens among health institutions than preference of health institutions for certified practitioners. These health institutions are governed by a higher agency accountable to the federal government and require, among other qualifications, that clinic, laboratory or hospital personnel are licensed or certified or registered, whichever is applicable, in their fields of specialty.

So how to get certified as a phlebotomist?

An important first step is to scan the market. Where do you intend to practice? Which state do you want to work as a phlebotomist? By carefully considering these questions, you will arrive at answers that will place you in the most optimal position to get that job.

For example, you want to work in California because you realized that phlebotomists there earn far more than they would in Oklahoma. You also want to work in large hospitals where hourly rate and job security are far more attractive than the compensation package offered at diagnostic laboratories or physician offices.  There are Several institutions that offer Phlebotomy certification programs. The certificate awarded at the completion of each training program is different in every institution. This makes it imperative for you to do thorough research before you invest your money and time on a Phlebotomy certification program. Not all Phlebotomy certification programs are considered equally by healthcare employers, so you should choose their certification program after researching their acceptability among your local employers.

the next step would be to research the qualifications, training and experience they look for to meet the demands of their patients. Keep in mind that despite being a health institution, these pursuits are still, at the very bottom, commercial in nature. The more they can meet the diagnostic requirements of their patients, the more their chances of becoming profitable, expanding, and hiring more phlebotomists to fill personnel needs.

After having determined what the demand side of the equation wants, it is now your turn to satisfy the supply side of the labor market. You need to be picky with the course you will take, given the low barrier to entry to the field of phlebotomy (which therefore leads to high competition).

Agencies that certify phlebotomy students by examination include the American Society for Clinical Pathology’s Board of Certification (ASCP-BOC), American Medical Technologists (AMT), the American Credentialing Agency (ACA), the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT), and the National Healthcareer Association (NHA). The American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) also covers phlebotomy on their nationally recognized exam. In California, all phlebotomists must be certified by law, and only after completing a state-approved training program and successful examination issued by NHA, AMT, ASCP-BOC, ACA and NCCT.

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There are certain questions that need to be answered before selecting a phlebotomy certification institution. Does the school enjoy an impeccable reputation for the quality of its education? Do the professors giving the courses have certification from the institutions and or agency and do they have real-world experience? When searching for a job, your training is what will matter most because the employer is only interested in hiring thoroughly-trained phlebotomists. Phlebotomy certification programs offered by different schools have different time spans for completion. This depends on the qualification they are giving. For example, a certification program only takes a few months for completion. However, a bachelor’s degree will take four years. And this does not include the mandatory internship period.

It is crucial to screen your school whether you are planning to finish the course online or on campus. Given the plethora of schools that have sprung up to take advantage of this demand, it is critical to evaluate the claims of schools especially when it comes to being accredited.

Here is a sample course description of a Phlebotomy Technician program, assuming that admission requirements –like completion of high school or GED, 18 years old or above and Scholastic Level Exam (SLE) score of 16 or better – have been met:

“The course requires completion of 40 hours of classroom coursework and 40 hours of off-site internship. Instruction on anatomy, medical terminology with emphasis on the circulatory system, collection of specimen and quality evaluation, assessment of risk factors and complications will be covered in the classroom. Instruction on venipuncture techniques is carried out in a clinical setting and provides hands-on training to students who need to complete at least 100 successful venipunctures and 20 skin punctures.”

Certifying bodies like the American Society for Clinical Pathology’s Board of Certification (ASCP-BOC), American Medical Technologists (AMT), the American Credentialing Agency (ACA), the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT), and the National Healthcareer Association (NHA) and the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) are likely to require that you completed your phlebotomy course with CAAHEP-accreditation (Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs) using a curriculum as outlined above, or else require you to fulfill substitute requirements to satisfy their criteria (for example, 100 more sessions of successful venipuncture in an affiliated hospital).

In high-paying California, because each candidate needs to be certified by law, they need, therefore, to complete what the state deems as appropriate training for the entrant to be able to sit in for certifying examinations administered by NHA, AMT, ASCP-BOC, ACA and NCCT. The stricter the state in requiring certification, the more stringent the certification process, but the more satisfying the compensation package that awaits.

Here is an example of Admission requirements & prerequisites

The applicant must meet the following criteria to be considered for admission into the Phlebotomy Technician certification program:

  • Have graduated from high school, or earned a GED
  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Read the Phlebotomy Technician Student Handbook
  • Drug Screening forms
  • Complete a Scholastic Level Exam (SLE) with a score of at least 16.
  • The healthcare sector is expanding so you’re chances of getting a job and becoming a Phlebotomy technician are excellent; but you will have to get the proper training. 
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