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Phlebotomist Certification and Requirements

Proper training is the foundation of any health care career, including phlebotomy. Phlebotomists support doctors and other clinicians by drawing blood samples for diagnostic testing, but that is just the beginning. They must also know how to properly handle and maintain all medical equipment, accurately update patient medical records, and counsel sometimes nervous patients through procedures. While many of these skills are mastered in phlebotomy schools and perfected on-the-job, some professionals choose to earn professional phlebotomy certifications when they become phlebotomists. In some cases, this certification is required. Here is a quick review of how phlebotomy certification works -- and why it matters.

Phlebotomist educational requirements

There are a number of different organizations that offer professional phlebotomy certifications, like the American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians and the National Phlebotomy Association. Because each organization sets its own requirements, they tend to vary. Generally speaking, however, certification candidates must meet minimum training or experience standards, such as earning a postsecondary certificate or degree from an accredited program in phlebotomy, or accruing a certain number of hours or years on the job. Some organizations require candidates to successfully pass one or more additional classes and pass a certification exam. In most cases, certification must be renewed periodically -- a process that may require completing additional continuing education courses and passing a recertification exam.

Benefits of phlebotomy certification

There are a number of reasons phlebotomists choose to become certified. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov) reports that as of 2014, the states of California, Nevada and Louisiana require phlebotomists to become certified before they can enter the field. In other cases, certification is strictly voluntary, but the BLS warns that almost all employers prefer to hire certified phlebotomists. This is because phlebotomist certification -- and the ongoing education it requires -- may help show that a candidate is committed to keeping his or her skills sharp and on the industry's cutting edge. It also signifies that one has had training beyond what is minimally required, which may serve to give newer and less experienced phlebotomists a chance to succeed in a competitive job market.

You can learn more about phlebotomist certifications -- and their requirements and benefits -- by contacting the organizations that award them. In many cases, phlebotomists can review certification requirements, submit applications and pay all related fees online.

Sources:

American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians, http://aspt.org/

National Phlebotomy Association, http://www.nationalphlebotomy.org/

Phlebotomists, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/phlebotomists.htm

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