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We now look at how to earn a phlebotomy national certification. While phlebotomy certification is optional in most states, it certainly adds value to your credentials in allied health care, formal or otherwise.
Until recently, on-the-job training was the only option available to become a phlebotomy technician. Now, formal training in phlebotomy is offered by independent vocational schools, community colleges and hospitals. Most formal phlebotomy programs last from ten weeks to one year. A typical phlebotomy training program includes both class-room study and supervised clinical practice. The course work in a phlebotomy training program includes anatomy, physiology, introduction to laboratory practices, communication, medical terminology, phlebotomy techniques, emergency situations, and CPR training.
Certifying agencies in phlebotomy
There are several national agencies that offer phlebotomy certification. The main ones are:
- American Society for Clinical Pathology
- National Phlebotomy Association
- American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians
- American Medical Technologists
You can take your phlebotomy national certification from any of these agencies. The eligibility requirements laid out by the agencies for phlebotomy certification are more or less similar. Let’s now look at the requirements for a phlebotomist certification from the American Society of Clinical Pathology (ASCP).
To be eligible for the national phlebotomy certification examination conducted by ASCP, an applicant must satisfy at least one of the following requirements:
- High school graduation or its equivalent and completion of an NAACLS-accredited or California Department of Public Health-approved phlebotomy course in the last five years.
- High school graduation (or equivalent) and completion of a two-part formal structured phlebotomy program in the U.S., Canada or an accredited laboratory within the last five years.
- High school graduation (or equivalent) and completion of a full year of full-time acceptable work experience as a phlebotomy technician including venipunctures and skin punctures in an accredited laboratory within the last five years.
- High school graduation (or equivalent) and successful completion of RN, LPN or other acceptable accredited allied health professional/occupational education which includes phlebotomy training and orientation in an accredited laboratory with a minimum performance of 100 successful unaided blood collections including venipunctures and skin punctures.
- Existing ASCP certification as a Medical Laboratory Technician, Medical Laboratory Scientist or Medical Technologist.
- Existing ASCP certification as a Donor Phlebotomy Technician and performance of at least 100 successful unaided non-donor blood sample collections in an accredited laboratory within the last 5 years.
Advantages of phlebotomy national certification
While certification is voluntary in almost all states, it does carry a lot of weight when applying for a job. Employers increasingly prefer certified phlebotomists over others these days. As far as those with existing qualifications are concerned, such as medical laboratory technicians or medical technologists, phlebotomy certification adds value to their credentials. Employers find it even more advantageous to have their existing staff equipped to carry out phlebotomist duties. Thus, whether you have a stand-alone qualification in phlebotomy or are already working in an allied health position, it certainly pays to obtain a phlebotomy national certification. Not all certifications are considered equal by all health care employers. Therefore applicants should choose their agency only after some reasearch on their acceptability among local employers.