Even if your state does not require certification to practice phlebotomy, it’s probably a good idea to pursue some type of phlebotomy certification. You can obtain phlebotomy certification after you have completed phlebotomy classes, or after working in the field of phlebotomy for a set period of time.
93% of employers require certification for their phlebotomists or encourage their phlebotomists to get certified to ensure they are getting a qualified technician. Getting certified translates to higher pay and more career opportunities down the road.
How do I choose a phlebotomy certification?
When it comes to choosing a phlebotomy certification, there are several factors to consider. While there is no single right answer or best certification, asking yourself the following questions can help you make the best choice:
- School or program recommendation: It is always a good idea to check with your phlebotomy school or training program to see if they recommend any specific certification. This could be because they have a partnership with a certifying organization or because they believe a particular certification will best prepare you for your career.
- Employer requirements or preferences: It’s important to research potential employers and determine if they require or prefer a specific certification. For example, some hospitals or clinics may only hire phlebotomists who have obtained certification from a particular organization.
- Eligibility based on education and experience: Another factor to consider is your eligibility for various certifications based on your education and experience. Some certifications may require a certain level of education or a minimum amount of experience working in the field. Be sure to check the eligibility requirements for each certification you are considering.
- Certification organization reputation: It’s also worth researching the reputation of the certifying organization. Look for feedback from professionals in the field to see if a particular certification is highly respected or preferred by employers.
- Certification renewal requirements: Finally, consider the certification renewal requirements for each organization. Some certifications may require ongoing education or continuing education credits to maintain your certification. Be sure to factor this into your decision-making process, as it may affect your ability to maintain your certification in the long term.
We’ve outlined the key differences in each of the major phlebotomy certifications in the United States. Here are some of the most popular certifications phlebotomists can choose from:
National Center for Competency Testing – Phlebotomy Technician Certification (NCPT)
The National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT) is the most popular certification provider for phlebotomists. It is also the easiest certification to be eligible for, as applicants only need to fulfill one of three categories before taking the certification exam:
- Are currently in attendance or have graduated from a NCCT authorized phlebotomy school within the past 5 years.
- Within the past five years, you have logged at least one year of documented full-time Phlebotomy Technician experience.
- Within the past five years, have you undergone Phlebotomy Technician training or a similar program during your time in U.S. Military service.
The exam itself is not easy, as it has a passing rate of 72%, so the certification is still highly regarded in the eyes of employers. The fee for taking the NCCT phlebotomy exam is $119.
You can learn more about the NCCT phlebotomy certification on their website.
National Phlebotomy Association – Certified Phlebotomist Technologist (CPT-NPA)
The National Phlebotomy Association has fairly stringent requirements for certification compared to other certification providers on this list. In order to be eligible for the National Phlebotomy Association’s certification, applicants must attend a phlebotomy program that provides:
- 16 continuing education units
- 160 hours of lecture time (excluding phlebotomy practical hours)
- 200 hours of practice with mannequins or via clinical practicum – or a combination of both
You achieve certification by passing the NPA’s certification exam. Once passed, you gain certification credentials as well as membership to the NPA’s network of phlebotomists, which open up job opportunities and networking contacts.
Learn more on their website.
American Society for Clinical Pathology – Phlebotomy Technician Certification (PBT-ASCP)
There are seven different route options for receiving the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) certification, however the option that most people take is completing an accredited phlebotomy program that has a minimum of 40 hours of classroom learning and 100 clinical hours. If you have been working as a phlebotomist in a qualified lab for at least one full year, you may also be eligible to automatically apply.
The application cost is $135. Learn more about the PBT-ASCP certification requirements here.
American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians – Phlebotomy Technician Certificate (PTC-ASPT)
Established in 1983, ASPT is one of the earliest certifying agencies for Phlebotomy. Not only does it provide resources for ongoing education and distant learning opportunities, but also grants approval to training programs and their instructors. To guarantee that all applicants are certified with current knowledge and up-to-date techniques during the examination process, members who apply will be given a complimentary official study outline from ASPT prior to taking the exam.
Applicants must have either attended a program approved by the ASPT or have completed 6 months of workforce experience that meet their requirements. Applicants must also pass an exam that can be taken in person or online. The PTC-ASPT certification must be renewed every year. Learn more on the ASPT website.
National Healthcareer Association – Certified Phlebotomy Technician (CPT-NHA)
To be eligible for the Certified Phlebotomy Technician Certification from the National Healthcareer Association, applicants must hold a high school diploma or equivalent and either have completed an approved phlebotomy program within the past 5 years OR have worked as a phlebotomy technician for at least 1 year over the past 3 years. The CPT-NHA does not require clinical hours, which is why it is a popular certification offered through online phlebotomy classes.
Candidates must take and pass the NHA’s Certified Phlebotomy Technician (CPT) Exam to achieve certification, and the price for taking the exam is $125. If you do choose to use NHA for licensing, it’s a good idea to purchase their CPT practice test and study guide, as the contents mirror the exam. The cost of buying both is $75. The flashcards can be used on an app, which makes studying for the exam easy while on the go.
The certification must be renewed once every 2 years, and the cost of renewal is $179. If you let your certification expiration date lapse, you have 1 year to renew it before it expires for good.
All of these costs add up compared to other certification providers on this list, which may be discouraging for many individuals. However, if you have concerns about passing the necessary certification exam, NHA provides the best study materials.
Learn more on their website.
American Medical Technologists – Registered Phlebotomy Technician (RPT-AMT)
Like the National Phlebotomy Association, the eligibility requirements for the American Medical Technologists (AMT) Phlebotomy Technician certification have somewhat demanding requirements, which can be met through education or work experience requirements:
Applicant shall be a graduate of an approved academic course (or combined courses) in phlebotomy, within the past 4 years or scheduled to graduate. Must include a minimum of 120 didactic clock hours (or as required by state law).
Applicant shall have completed a minimum of 1,040 hours of acceptable work experience as a phlebotomy technician within the past 3 years. This amounts to about 6 months of work experience. The experience must include venipunctures, capillary punctures, specimen processing, communication skills, and clerical duties.
Applicants must also have effectively accomplished a minimum of 50 venipunctures and 10 skin punctures from human sources, which applies to both Education and Work Experience candidates.
There’s a $125 application fee necessary to take the exam, and you can purchase a two-attempt practice exam for $40. If you fail the exam, you can retake the test within 45 days for a fee of $100. This is an option that not all certification organizations provide.
Upon passing the exam, a certificate of certification will be granted by AMT. The certification is valid for 1 year and an annual fee of $75 must be paid to keep your certification current.
Unlike other certification providers, AMT clearly outlines the contents of the exam and references books and other materials that the exam is based on. This makes it easy to study for this particular exam, whereas you may need to rely on materials taken from your phlebotomy classes for other certification exams.
Learn more on their website.
American Medical Certification Association – Phlebotomy Technician Certification (PTC-AMCA)
Getting certified with the American Medical Certification Association requires that candidates complete a certified phlebotomy program as well as clinical practice through which they have performed at least 30 venipunctures and 10 capillary punctures.
The certification exam is a two-hour, 100 multiple-choice question test that assesses the academic knowledge of examination takers in areas such as regulatory compliance, infection control, safety measures, patient identification techniques, specimen collection and transportation processes.
The exam costs $109, which also includes study materials specific for the exam. Candidates can also review the PTC program outline and exam blueprint so they know exactly know the types of questions that will appear on the exam. The passing score is 74/100.
The AMCA also offers a combination phlebotomy technician/EKG Technician/Patient Care certification.
Learn more on their website.
American Certification Agency for Healthcare Professionals – Certified Phlebotomy Technician (CBT-ACA)
The American Certification Agency for Healthcare Professionals (ACA) offers the Certified Phlebotomy Technician (CBT) program, which requires meeting certain eligibility criteria. These include holding a high school diploma, completing phlebotomy training, having at least one year of experience as a phlebotomist, and providing evidence of documented 100 venipunctures and 10 skin punctures. While the ACA-CPT theory exam can be taken online, obtaining the certification necessitates passing a practical exam in a health facility or laboratory setting.
The application fee of $100 makes this certification the cheapest on our list, the ACA provides almost no information about their certification exam and the contents of it. This makes it difficult to prepare for and pass the exam compared to other certification providers on this list. For this reason, we cannot recommend the CBT-ACA until the ACA provides more helpful resources to its test takers.
Learn more on their website.
Phlebotomy Technician Certificate (PTC-AAH)
The phlebotomy certification program offered by the American Allied Health (AAH) has specific eligibility requirements that candidates must fulfill to take the certification exam. These requirements include either completing a phlebotomy training program, possessing a minimum of one year of experience as a phlebotomist, having a previous certification from other providers, or receiving phlebotomy training through the US Military. Candidates can choose to take the PCT-AAH certification exam either online or in-person at an AAH-affiliated examination center.
The quick and easy certification process makes this ideal for those looking to get a fast and cheap certification. The cost is only $105, and the entire process can be completed online. There is no study prep material provided by the AAH, and there is no option for retaking the exam if you fail, but if you are confident in your abilities to pass the exam and the type of certification you need does not matter, the PTC-AAH is a good option.
Canadian Phlebotomy Technicians Group
For phlebotomists located in Canada, the Canadian Phlebotomy Technicians Group (CPTG) offers certification for both phlebotomy technicians and instructors.
Members must take and pass their certification exam, which consists of a 100 multiple choice theory questions and a Practical Component. Minimum scores of 62% on the Theory exam and 80% on the practical component are required. To qualify for their certification exam, you must be a current member of CPTG and fulfill one of the following conditions:
- Graduate from a recognized Canadian Post-Secondary Institution in a Medical Discipline with Phlebotomy training
- Complete a post-diploma/graduate training in Phlebotomy within the last year
- Have at least 6 months of work experience and completed 25 venipunctures and 10 finger sticks, which will be verified by your employer.
Joining the CPTG offers numerous benefits for professionals in Canada. Members can access free continuing professional development (CPD) education, a professional registry that verifies their certification and continuing education, and recognition by employers throughout Canada. They can also enjoy savings on insurance coverage and access to affordable health and dental, cybersecurity, and pet insurance plans. In addition, members receive personalized email updates on the latest job openings in the industry, and certified members have the option to be covered for professional liability insurance (PLI). They can also receive a study and reference guide for the certification exam and a unique login to Perkopolis.com for discounts on various products and services.
The cost for taking the exam is $220 CAD and an additional fee of $129 CAD plus tax is required to become a member, which is good for one year and expires on December 31st each year.
Learn more on their website.
I received a Phlebotomy Certificate. Isn’t that the same thing as a Phlebotomy Certification?
No. After completing classes at a phlebotomy program, students are typically given a certificate. A certificate is a formal document that confirms a student has successfully completed a phlebotomy training program offered by an educational institution. These certificate programs can prepare students for certification exams in phlebotomy.
On the other hand, a phlebotomy certification is typically granted by a professional organization after an individual has met specific requirements, such as obtaining a certain level of education, gaining practical experience in phlebotomy for a defined duration, and passing a certification exam. Employers typically regard phlebotomy certifications more strongly than phlebotomy certificates.
In summary, a phlebotomy certificate confirms the completion of a training program, while a phlebotomy certification verifies that an individual has fulfilled specific professional criteria and passed an exam in phlebotomy.