What Is Phlebotomy Certification and How Do I Get It?

Before we explain exactly what phlebotomy certification involves, it’s important to understand the definition of “certification” alone. Simply put, it is the process in which a national organization recognizes the competence of someone in a specific field or discipline. There are currently 10 different organizations that can issue certifications for phlebotomy.

As job positions in the healthcare field become more competitive, recognition through certification is becoming much more common because employers (ranging from hospitals to blood laboratories) rarely hire those who do not hold a phlebotomy certification. This is still true even though only two states in the USA legally require one to be certified in order to practice phlebotomy.

Why? It makes perfect sense really. Without proof of competency, you could put the employer at risk for a lawsuit if you make an error. Hiring someone without a certification could become a liability for them especially in the field of phlebotomy since most lab errors occur in the “preanalytical phase”.

Phlebotomy certification is rewarded only to those students that have met the requirements of one of the 10 different phlebotomy certification organizations, and an examination has been written. Some organizations require re-certification through future exams and continuing education credits in order to maintain one’s phlebotomy certification.
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Phlebotomy Certification Courses – What Is Involved

Those who have phlebotomy courses and have gone on to write their phlebotomy certification are know as “phlebotomist’s”. They are responsible for drawing blood from patients a variety of different patients. This blood is then analyzed in a laboratory to help identify whether any health problems exist. The phlebotomist is not responsible for analyzing the blood, but must make sure that it reaches the laboratory in a safe and timely manor.

Phlebotomy Courses & Training

In order to become certified, one must complete a phlebotomy course. These courses can range from as little as 4 months all the way to 24 months long. The courses that are shorter in duration are offered through vocational schools, while the longer courses are offered through community colleges where you can obtain a degree upon completion. Although similar, phlebotomy course curriculum’s will vary slightly from school to school. All courses focus on human anatomy, blood drawing techniques, lab procedures and more. Expect both practical and theoretical teaching methods regardless of the course you choose.

Phlebotomy Certification

Upon graduation from one of these phlebotomy courses, the student can then write their certification exam and officially become a phlebotomist. Although it is still legal to work as a phlebotomist without a certification in 50 out of 52 states, finding employment without a certification is getting more difficult. This is because those that are hiring are expecting well qualified and trained applicants, and those without a certification will have a hard time “proving” that they have the necessary job skills. Before you attend a phlebotomy course, find out the specific requirements of your state by contacting your local department of health.

Simply put, the cost of a phlebotomy course will pay for it’s self since you will earn more money, and will also find it much easier to find employment.
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Helpful Tips On Phlebotomy Certification

Phlebotomy refers to the procedure of drawing blood from a patient so that it can be analyzed and tested. In order to practice phlebotomy, it is highly recommended that one obtain their certification from an accredited college. Although only currently required by two states, most employers now expect their applicants to be certified. Those who do not hold a certification will find it difficult to find jobs.

What Does A Phlebotomist Need To Know?

To become certified, a phlebotomist must not only have adequate training and expertise in drawing blood, but also be comfortable interacting with people (sometimes difficult individuals). The main part of the job involves extracting blood through the veins (venipuncture), arterial puncturing and drawing blood through the capillary bodies. Thorough knowledge of vein location, puncture point, and comfortable punctures are all essential knowledge for those looking to become certified as a phlebotomist.

What Should I Expect At Phlebotomy School?

You must attend one of many phlebotomy training schools in order to write the phlebotomy certification exam. School programs last between eight to twenty-four months depending on the program. Although initially more costly, the longer courses will improve your credentials come job time and will allow you to demand a higher starting salary.

Expect all “aspects” of schooling regardless of the program you choose, including online, in-class and in-lab training. In addition to learning blood drawing techniques, you will be taught how to analyze specific characteristics of blood samples, and how to read these samples and understand what they reveal about the patients ailment. Training courses will also cover human anatomy, lab safety, and how to interact with patients.
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Benefits Of Phlebotomy Certification Training

You might be the perfect candidate for phlebotomy if you’re not panic-stricken by blood. Phlebotomists work in a wide array of health facilities where they assist doctors and nurses with their duties. There are plenty of job options available for phlebotomists, both presently and in the future.

Phlebotomy training is extremely important for those interested in becoming a phlebotomist. The school programs for a phlebotomists can start as early as high school, and in order to attend phlebotomy school you will need a high school diploma or equivalent.

If you’re looking at phlebotomy training programs, there are a few factors to consider. Along with other organizations, accredited phlebotomy colleges and programs stick to the guidance and tools that are approved by the Clinical & Laboratory Sciences Institute. There are particular training courses and schools that some employers prefer their employees to attend, so it is important that you discuss this with them before choosing a school. In certain cases, you’ll find that employers actually have an affiliate program for their trainees.

There are a wide variety of training courses available across different schools. Although all courses differ slightly, all of include intense training in the areas of human physiology and anatomy. Specific techniques for storing and collecting blood will also be learned.
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The Different Phlebotomy Certification Training Agencies

There are many different organizations which offer phlebotomy certification programs and courses. However, not all are reputable or teach according to standards set by the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI).

When deciding on a suitable phlebotomy certification training program, look for an organization that is accredited or approved by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS), uses materials and examinations that reflect CLSI standards, and qualifies graduates for an examination through an external certification agency.

There are ten nationally recognized certifying agencies in the United States. Some of these agencies include the American Certification Agency, the American Medical Technologists, and the National Center for Competency Testing, the American Society for Clinical Pathology and the National Phlebotomy Association. The requirements to become a certified phlebotomist vary by agency and are outlined below.

The American Certification Agency (ACA) for Healthcare Professionals offers two types of certification for phlebotomists; phlebotomy technicians and phlebotomy instructors. To be eligible for the phlebotomy technician exam, applicants must have completed 100 clinical hours, 100 successful venipunctures and 10 successful dermal punctures (although 25 are required in Louisiana). The exam is written online in combination with a practical component. Phlebotomy instructor applicants must be phlebotomy certified or a registered RN or LPN. No written exam is required; however applicants must provide documented proof of three years phlebotomy experience and one year teaching experience.
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