Phlebotomy certification can be very beneficial when it comes to not only looking for a job but looking for one with a higher salary. Why is this? Because it is possible to become a phlebotomist with just a high school degree or a GED, so having a phlebotomy certification can mean the difference of making $27,000 a year as verse to $35,000.
So, what does it take to get a phlebotomy certification? Before we look at what it costs to earn a phlebotomy certification, let’s look at what the job is and how one goes about becoming a phlebotomist.
What Is A Phlebotomist?
So, what in the world is a phlebotomist? Believe it or not, you come in contact with phlebotomists more often then you may think. A Phlebotomist is an individual that works in the healthcare profession, and they are responsible for drawing blood.
The day to day activities of someone in this occupation includes drawing blood and plasma from individuals, labeling the vials and entering the patient’s information into a database. A person who chooses to work in this environment needs to not only be a people person but be comfortable with blood, needles and be able to work in an environment that is often high-stress.
Some places that a phlebotomist may work include doctor’s offices, medical laboratory or a blood donor center. Because of the nature of the job, possible candidates need to be able to pay strict attention to detail, not only when performing procedures, but also by maintaining a clean and sterile work environment.
You’ll be responsible for talking to the patients and making sure they are comfortable with the procedure. You will also have to take extra care with those who fear needles and blood. To get the job done right, you’ll have to be able to answer any questions the patient may have and be able to soothe their anxieties if they present any signs of them.
Because phlebotomists work with both medical equipment and patients, they will need to know and be able to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation and be able to administer first aid if the need were to arise. This is one area where being able to think and react on a moment’s notice will benefit a possible candidate.
What Training Does A Phlebotomist Need?
As mentioned earlier, to become a phlebotomist a candidate must have a minimum of a high school diploma or a GED. While this used to be the standard in the occupation, it is quickly becoming a thing of the past as more and more candidates are required to have a phlebotomy certificate.
Other candidates decide to go to school and get an associate degree in phlebotomy. A degree in phlebotomy will give possible candidates an excellent background in anatomy, physiology, hematology, clinical chemistry, blood banking and ethical medical issues. Other coursework may include:
- Laboratory management
- Infectious diseases
- Clinical Microbiology
For those looking to go the certification route first, some agencies provide certifications. Some of the top phlebotomy certification agencies include the following:
- The American Certification Agency (ACA)
- The National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- The American Medical Technologists (AMT)
- The National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT)
- The American Society for Clinical Pathology, (ASCP)
One of the most popular phlebotomy certifications is the Certified Phlebotomy Technician (CPT) certificate rewarded by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA). To receive a phlebotomy certification such as the CPT, it takes between two to four months in a phlebotomy training program, followed by a certification exam.
How Much Does a Phlebotomy Certification Cost?
Depending on which certification agency an individual goes through, the cost of getting a phlebotomy certification can vary. Some agencies require an individual not only to take an exam but also go through a phlebotomy training program.
Because the National Healthcareer Association’s Certified Phlebotomy Technician certification is one of the most popular professional certifications in phlebotomy, we will be focusing on the requirements and costs of the CPT certificate as verse to the other certifications that are provided by other agencies.
To be eligible for the CPT exam, there are a few steps that a candidate must take before they considered.
The first is that a candidate needs to have a high school diploma or the equivalent, such as their GED. Other candidates may qualify by providing a diploma and official transcript reflecting equivalent education as evaluated by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers for secondary education.
The next step a candidate must take is to take and complete a training program or have relevant work experience as explained below:
All candidates must complete a training program in the health field covered by the NHA certification exam offered by an accredited or state-recognized institution or provider.
Registered Apprentice Program
The successful completion of a Registered Apprenticeship Program that is in the health field covered by the NHA certification exam and registered with the U.S. Department of Labor would fulfill the training program.
To qualify under this option, a candidate’s formal medical services training in the health field covered by the NHA certification exam offered by any branch of the U.S. Military would fulfill the Training Program requirement.
To qualify under this option, candidates must have at least one year of supervised work experience in the health field covered by the NHA certification exam within the past three years.
Finally, a phlebotomy candidate will have to prove that they have successfully performed a minimum of thirty venipunctures and ten capillary sticks on live individuals.
The overall cost of these training can and will vary depending on the program that the candidate chooses, so it’s hard to pinpoint an exact cost. However, once all eligibility requirements are met, and the individual must sign up for the Phlebotomy Technician Certification exam which will cost $117 through NHA. There are also the possibilities of registration fees and the fact that candidates can purchase additional study materials and practice tests for prices ranging between $39.00 through $69.00.
Phlebotomist Salary and Job Outlook
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of phlebotomists is projected to grow 25% from 2016 to 2026. That is a projected growth of over 30,000.
Those working as phlebotomists earn, on average, $30,872. Of course, this number is significantly affected by factors such as location, experience, and education. Because of this, a phlebotomy certification can help a prospective candidate look more well-rounded to employers, but also raise the changes of higher pay.
Besides having a phlebotomy certification, experience plays a significant role in the annual salary of a phlebotomist. Those with less than five years of experience generally expect to earn around $27,000 while those with five to ten years of experience can expect to earn an average of $31,000. Those with between ten and 20 years of experience can expect around $33,000 and those with over 20 years of experience can expect about $35,000 annually.
Is A Phlebotomy Certification Worth the Price?
The short answer to this question is yes. Having a phlebotomy certification plays a significant role in not only getting a higher paying position but in obtaining a position at all. As mentioned before, while some areas still allow candidates to become phlebotomists with little training and a minimum of a high school diploma or GED, most employers are looking for candidates that have something more.
On the job training is great, but going through training, the exams, and becoming certified shows the other initiative that many employers in this industry are looking for. Those who chose to get an associate degree in phlebotomy, while also having a phlebotomy certificate, are even more likely to get their desired position.
So, is getting a phlebotomy certification worth the price? Of course, when you receive it from the right avenues. Not only will your prospective employers be impressed, but you will feel more ready to head into the workplace because you will know you have trained and prepared for the position and are prepared to give it your absolute best.