Becoming a phlebotomist requires formal classroom training, clinical laboratory training and passing a certification exam. Formal classroom and clinical laboratory training must be obtained through an accredited phlebotomy training program. The accreditation must come from one of the phlebotomy profession's recognized regulatory bodies, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Sciences and the American Society for Clinical Pathology.
The prerequisites for becoming a phlebotomist are a high school diploma or GED, 120 hours of classroom training, 1,040 hours of experience performing phlebotomy-related duties and graduation from an accredited phlebotomy training program. Phlebotomy training can be obtained at a local health care vocational school or online. Students may sit for a phlebotomy certification exam if they have completed an accredited phlebotomy program within the past five years; completed a two-part, formally structured phlebotomy program at an accredited laboratory within the past five years; or have one year of experience as a phlebotomy technician within the past five years. Registered and Licensed Practical Nurses may also sit for the phlebotomy certification exam provided they have completed formal phlebotomy training at an accredited laboratory and have taken at least 100 successful, unaided blood collections within the past five years. Some states have additional accreditation requirements for phlebotomy certification programs. For example, California requires phlebotomy programs to be accredited by the California Department of Public Health Laboratory Field Services.