Due to the increasing technical nature of medicine in the modern world, it is necessary to provide professional quality health services to patients at all levels of care. In addition, there is a steadily increasing number of patients seeking healthcare from health facilities. As a result, all medical professionals need to be adequately trained and certified in order to provide the best quality service to their patients.
Phlebotomists are no exception – although previously, certification was not required for phlebotomists, there are now few healthcare institutions that will hire a phlebotomist without proper certification and training. In some states in America, and in many countries throughout the world, it is illegal to practice as a phlebotomist without recognised phlebotomy certification of some form.
What is a Phlebotomy Certification (CPT)
A Phlebotomy Training Certification, known as CPT, is a professional certification provided by different recognised phlebotomy certification organizations to give employers confidence in a person’s skills and abilities to work as a phlebotomist.
To get the CPT a phlebotomist need to pass the Phlebotomy Certification Exam.
Why Get a Phlebotomy Certification
This is probably one of your top questions, why should you invest your time and money pursuing a national phlebotomy certification if you are already trained in the field?
Well, like in many other professions, there are several benefits in getting a certification in your field, and phlebotomy is no different. Some of the top benefits are:
To prove your skills/abilities & experience:
Even if a Phlebotomy Certification is not mandatory in most states, the truth is that most of the employers will only accept phlebotomists with a national phlebotomy certification. A certification will show the employers that you have the skills and experience to work as a phlebotomist.
To improve you career and salary:
As you can see in this detailed article about phlebotomy salaries, getting a certification will not only help you to get a better paid role, will also help you to get a job faster, and to get access to a large number of available opportunities.
To comply with regulation:
As mentioned before, CPT is not mandatory in all the states, but if you want to work in California, Louisiana, Nevada or Washington you need to be certified to comply with the state regulation.
To show your dedication to this area:
One of the requirements to get your phlebotomy license is to perform 100 blood draws and completed some training hours – this will show any potential employers that you are dedicated and committed to this great healthcare profession.
To differentiate yourself from the competition:
You will have a lot of competition when you apply for a role on this field. Having a certification will differentiate yourself from other applicants without one, putting you on the top of the list of candidates. By having a certification you are showing you potential employer that you really know the phlebotomy field and that you have the required level of experience.
How to Become a Certified Phlebotomist
A common question is how to get phlebotomy certification?
Here is the deal:
Step 1 – Check the Requirements in Your State
First, you need to look at the specific requirements of your state. The number of classroom and clinical hours required will be different from state to state, as well as the need of perform puncture tests before the exam. It is critical to have a good understanding of the requirements in your state to select a training program they will comply with them.
Step 2 – Enrol in a Training Program at an Accredited Phlebotomy School
Then, find an enrol in an accredited training program in your area. Hands-on experience is usually a vital part of a training program as it will give you the opportunity to become more prepared and comply with the clinical hours and puncture tests requirements.
Step 3 – Take the Phlebotomy Certification Exam with a Recognised Organization
This is the final step! Now you just need to pass the exam and take care of the required documentation to become a certified phlebotomist.
Where to Get Phlebotomy Certification Near Me
We have a dedicated article with the top recognised certification agencies through which you can get your phlebotomy certification. Check our research about the top phlebotomy certification agencies, their price, requirements and some additional information.
Pros & Cons of Becoming a Certified Phlebotomy Technician
Wondering if you should get a phlebotomist certification?
Well, this is not a job for everyone, so if you are afraid of needles or hate to see blood, clearly this is not the field for you. But even if you are a good fit for the field, you should measure the pros and cons before deciding to become certified.
Phlebotomist Certification Pros
There are a lot of good motives to get a certification, such as:
- Higher salary: Certified phlebotomy technicians will have, in average, higher salaries than their colleagues without a certification
- Better and more job roles: Having a certification will allow you to apply to some roles that you wouldn’t be able to apply without a certification
- Career progress: It will allow you to progress faster in your career, and getting to more exciting roles
- Higher qualifications: Getting a certification can be a first step to higher and better qualifications, and will allow you to enrol in courses that you couldn’t apply before
Phlebotomist Certification Cons
But before making such a relevant decision, you need also to consider the cons:
- Cost: Getting trained in the field and being able to take a recognised phlebotomy certification exam is not free. You should be sure that you can afford it and that the investment will have a return
- Time: You will need time to prepare and study for the exam, so be sure that you will have the required time before applying
- Effort: Won’t be enough just to show for the exam, you will need to put the effort to pass the phlebotomy exam. Have this into consideration when considering your options
Types or Levels of Phlebotomy Certification
There are 3 levels of Phlebotomy Certification, as you can check in the table below:
|LPT – Limited Phlebotomy Technician||Authorized to do skin puncture blood collection only.|
|CPT I – Certified Phlebotomy Technician I||Authorized to do skin puncture and venipuncture blood collection.|
|CPT II – Certified Phlebotomy Technician II||Authorized to do skin puncture, venipuncture, and arterial puncture blood collection.|
All of these phlebotomy licenses should be renewed every 2 years – to renew it, you must pay a fee and submit documentation of continuing education.
Phlebotomy Certification Requirements
The requirements to take a phlebotomy national certification exam may be different from state to state, so we recommend to check the specific requirements for your state. But you can find below the typical requirements to take the exam:
- Be a legal resident of the United States
- Be at least 18 years old
- Have high school degree or its equivalent
- Have completed classroom phlebotomy training
- Have on-the-job experience
- Have completed some venipunctures, skin punctures and observation of arterial punctures
If you pass these requirements you are in a good position to get your phlebotomist license!
Phlebotomy Technician Certification Exam Preparation
You need to pass the exam to get you phlebotomy certificate.
So, you should consider:
Exam structure and content
The exams may differ from organization to organization, but usually they:
- Have between 50 to 300 questions
- Have a written and practical section
- Written section is done on a computer
- Written section covers different topics, such as: tube order draw, collection practices, how to dispose equipment, safety protocols, protection equipment requirements, etc.
- Practical section covers drawing blood, label samples, etc.
How to study for the exam
First, you should take into consideration our phlebotomy exam study tips.
Then, make sure that you do a lot of practice tests – we can find some free phlebotomy practice tests in our site.
Have a look on our resources section to find additional materials & books to support your exam preparation.
What happens if you fail it
Well, it won’t be the end of the world…
…the bad news is that you need to take the exam again (you may have to wait one month in some cases) and pay a second fee, but the good news is that we will be able to identify the areas that you struggled with in the first time and do a better preparation.