Minimum state-level requirements for licensure or certification as a phlebotomist include a high school diploma or its equivalent, successful completion of an accredited phlebotomy training program, completion of AIDS education and training and a background check. California, one of four states that license phlebotomists, also requires 1,040 hours of on-the-job work experience and completion of a recognized national certification examination. Accredited phlebotomy training programs are available at most community colleges and vocational schools, and several national organizations offer professional certification.
While only California, Nevada, Louisiana and Washington have state-level requirements for employment as a phlebotomist, most employers prefer to hire certified phlebotomists. Among the national organizations offering professional phlebotomist certification are the National Center for Competency Testing, National Healthcareer Association, American Society for Clinical Pathology, American Medical Technologists and the National Phlebotomy Association. Applicants for certification typically must meet educational and clinical practice requirements, which vary by the certifying body, prior to sitting for the certification examination. Requirements for certification include, at minimum, 40 hours of classroom instruction and 100 hours of clinical training from an accredited program and the completion of at least 100 unaided skin punctures and venipunctures. Certification testing usually includes a written exam and the completion of hands-on procedures. States that regulate phlebotomists may require a state exam in addition to the professional certification exam.
Prior to selecting a training program, confirm that the program is appropriately accredited by the state and/or the U.S. Department of Education and accepted by national certifying organizations.