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Certified Phlebotomy Technician: Job Description & Certification Requirements

Learn about the preparation needed to become a certified phlebotomy technician. Get a quick view of the requirements, as well as details about job duties, salary and career outlook to find out if this is the career for you.

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Essential Information

More commonly known as phlebotomists, certified phlebotomy technicians work with patients in hospitals, blood banks and other medical set-ups. They are responsible for drawing blood for a variety of reasons, including lab testing and blood donation. To obtain the required Certified Phlebotomy Technician (CPT) credentials, individuals must qualify for and pass an exam given by a nationally recognized CPT certification board. Phlebotomists play an important role in the healthcare system, and phlebotomy is a career with a faster than average growth expectancy.

Required Education Certificate is common
Certification Voluntary but preferred by employers; requirements include clinical experience and classroom training
Projected Job Growth* (2012-2022) 27%
Median Salary* (2013) $30,150 annually

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Career Paths

There are many different career paths that a Certified Phlebotomy Technician (CPT) might choose to take. According to Payscale.com, these career paths include jobs as Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), Certified Medical Assistants (CMA), Licensed Practice Nurses (LPN) and Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVN). The reason for this is that there are many routes to qualifying for the CPT exam and many medical training programs that include proper training in phlebotomy.

CPT Job Duties

Phlebotomists are medical professionals who work in a variety of settings collecting blood. Generally the purpose of drawing the blood is for sample work, but CPTs may also work at events such as Red Cross blood drives. At such events, CPTs assist other workers with the drawing and proper storage of blood in order to preserve it. The other duties of the CPT depend upon where he or she works. CPTs may be responsible for conducting patient interviews, checking vital signs and transporting the blood samples to a laboratory for testing purposes.

Certification Requirements

Coming into contact with blood can prove quite dangerous. For this reason there are strict medical procedures for handling such risks and CPTs must be knowledgeable of proper handling and disposal policies. There is more than one nationally recognized certification group through which a phlebotomist can be certified; possibilities include the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)

ASCP Certification

The ASCP offers six different routes to qualifying for its CPT examination. Some examples include: completion of a 2-part structured formal phlebotomy program or American Association of Blood Banks (AABB) accredited lab training; Medical Technologist (MT), Medical Laboratory Scientist (MLS) or Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT) certifications; Donor Phlebotomy Technician (DPT) certification and 100+ hours of various types of blood collections; or LPN, RN or other certification in the allied health occupations. The ASCP also makes the exam available to those who have a high school diploma and can prove a specific amount - currently one year - of job experience as a phlebotomist. Test-takers must prove their knowledge in a variety of areas including:

  • Procedures, policies and terminology
  • How to choose appropriate places to draw blood from
  • How to decide on the best method of drawing and handling blood
  • Preparation of patients, equipment, and blood samples
  • Evaluation of patient situation, quality control, and variables

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Employment for phlebotomists was predicted to expand by 27% from 2012-2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). In 2013, the BLS revealed an annual median salary of $30,150 for this occupation.

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