Overview of Online Phlebotomy Certification
Phlebotomists work in healthcare environments and perform the important role of safely collecting blood samples from patients for the purposes of diagnosing diseases and medical conditions, or for blood donations.
As is the case with many states, certification is not mandatory in New Jersey; however, many employers have a preference for certified candidates, therefore certification seems to effectively be a must for phlebotomy candidates with long-term career progression in mind. To achieve certification, candidates must meet eligibility requirements to take a certification exam, then pass the examination. Those who are not currently working as phlebotomists will need to take an accredited training program, which will adequately prepare them for national certification examinations. Given the clinical nature of the field, colleges and training centers that offer phlebotomy courses online are few and far between in New Jersey.
Exams are commonly in person, but aspiring phlebotomists may apply for the exams online as well as access test plans, study materials and practice exams online, typically with fees ranging from $25 to $75.
Online Phlebotomy Certification Requirements
All certification boards have an option for graduates (or prospective graduates) of phlebotomy training programs to apply for certification. Most additionally have another pathway for those with a minimum, specific amount of work experience (such as a minimum number of hours as well as a minimum number of venipunctures) as a phlebotomy technician. Applicants simply need to meet the required criteria, pay an application fee and pass the exam.
National phlebotomy certification does not last indefinitely. Holders are required to renew their certification periodically, such as every two years, by demonstrating that they have undertaken the required number of continuing education hours. The exact amount depends on which certification body issued the original certification.
List of Certification Agencies for Phlebotomy Certification in New Jersey
There are a number of phlebotomy certification agencies that serve the entire country and provide candidates with exam preparation materials online. Here are some examples.
The National Phlebotomy Association
To be eligible to take the National Phlebotomy Association (NPA) certification examination, candidates must have attended a training program that meets the NPA curriculum requirements and awards either 16 continuing education units or consists of 160 hours of lecture time and 200 hours of hands-on practical experience (in a practicum, with mannequins or a combination of the two). As well as providing a certificate of program completion, candidates will also have to show examination providers proof of high school graduation or GED. Once candidates have been deemed to be eligible, they are provided access to online exam preparation resources.
National Center for Competency Testing
The National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT) requires candidates who are enrolled in, or have completed, a phlebotomy training program to submit a copy of their phlebotomy technician diploma or an official signed transcript which clearly shows the graduation date. They must also submit a competency form filled out by their patient-care supervisor verifying that the candidate has performed a minimum of 25 venipunctures and five capillary punctures. Alternatively, candidates who can demonstrate that they have one year of full-time phlebotomy technician practitioner experience, or equivalent (2080 hours), within the last five years are also eligible to take the exam. The NCCT provides exam content details on its website to assist candidates with their preparation.
American Medical Technologists
There are two ways to become eligible to take the American Medical Technologists (AMT) phlebotomy technician certification examination. Candidates who have completed, or are close to finishing, a phlebotomy training program that includes at least 120 didactic hours within the last four years are eligible. Additionally, practicing phlebotomists with at least 1040 hours' experience are eligible if they can demonstrate that they have carried out a minimum of 50 venipunctures and ten capillary punctures. The exam can be taken at a designated exam center or the candidate's training school.
Career Outlook after Phlebotomy Certification
The career outlook for phlebotomists across the US is a healthy one. All varieties of healthcare providers will continue to require blood samples for the purposes of diagnosis and donation. This scenario has led the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to forecast an above average job growth of 23% for phlebotomists between 2018 and 2028. The BLS has also calculated that the median salary for a phlebotomist was $35,510 as of May 2019, although there is the potential to earn significantly more than this with the top 10% of phlebotomists earning in excess of $49,750.
Eligibility for certification examinations generally consists of two routes associated with either meeting educational requirements or fulfilling on-the-job experience criteria. Exams are in person, but aspiring phlebotomists can apply for them online, as well as access online study materials and practice exams.