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Certification Description & Options
Phlebotomy is a career on the rise. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS 2013) anticipates a 27% growth in this profession between 2012 and 2022, much faster than the average increase projected for all occupations (11%). How does one become a part of this medical subspecialty?
Although some employers may consider individuals with high school diplomas and clinical experience with venipuncture (i.e., drawing blood or introducing fluids into a person’s vein with a hypodermic needle), there are some reasons to consider getting certified prior to seeking a job in this growing field.
First, there are four states which require that their phlebotomists be certified: California, Louisiana, Nevada, and Washington.
Secondly, nearly all employers prefer phlebotomists who have earned a professional certification from an accredited organization. O*NET, an affiliate of the American Job Center Network, reported than in 2013, 57% of their phlebotomist respondents had post-secondary certificates whereas 33% had only high school diplomas.
In order to become certified, prospective phlebotomists typically complete a program from an accredited phlebotomy certification school that takes around one year. These programs generally have two courses and a clinical component such as an externship as well. Upon completion of a program and supervised clinical experience, the individual may be qualified to take a certification exam. Many of the exams require both written and lab portions in order to demonstrate one’s effectiveness in venipuncture. The specific number of venipunctures and supervised clinical hours vary by certifying agency.
Certification Preparation & Exam
Prior to becoming certified, phlebotomy candidates must typically complete a program through an accredited phlebotomy school. While many of these programs can help an individual prepare for a certification exam, there are a number of other test preparation resources as well.
One certifying body, the American Society of Clinical Pathology (ASCP) offers a reading list to help students get ready for their exams:
Becan-McBride, K. & Garza, D. (2010). Success! in Phlebotomy: A Question and Answer Review for Phlebotomy
Booth, K. & Mundt, L. (2012). Phlebotomy: A Competency-Based Approach
Ernst, D.J. (2005) Applied Phlebotomy
Garza, D. & Becan-McBride, K. (2010) Phlebotomy Handbook: Blood Specimen Collection from Basic to Advanced
Garza, D. & Becan-McBride, K (2012). Phlebotomy Simplified
McCall, R.E. & Tankersley, C.M. (2012). Phlebotomy Essentials
Most of the websites for the various certifying agencies provide additional advice and resources to help an individual get prepared for the exam.