Phlebotomy is an in-demand industry where education and phlebotomy training is essential. Phlebotomists require special knowledge of the human body and blood collection & storage, along with strict safety procedures and protocols. There are many phlebotomy schools and programs that offer phlebotomy courses. Programs and courses are available in traditional classroom settings as well as online. Associate and bachelor’s degrees are available in the field of phlebotomy, but most common is the certificate course.
In order to write a certification exam following completion of a training program, it is important to select a course with a hands-on clinical component. It is also important to select a program that is recognized by the United States Department of Education, the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS), or a similar agency. There are several websites that offer searchable directories of accredited schools. The NAACLS lists 59 results across the United States. Each listing provides the school’s address, website (where available), phone number, and name of the director. Each school is accredited and approved by the NAACLS. Approved programs meet standards and use materials designated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Clinical and Laboratory Sciences Institute (CLSI).
Program curriculum, course duration and cost, vary across different schools and organizations. Certificate type courses can be completed in as little as 12 weeks or as long as one year. Certificate courses will include an internship or clinical portion that lasts approximately forty hours. The exact length will vary between programs. The average cost of a certificate course ranges from $1500 to $3000. Associate and bachelor’s degrees take two to four years to complete and cost five to ten times more than certificate programs.
California and Louisiana are the only states to require practicing phlebotomists to possess official phlebotomy certification; because of this, training programs must meet a greater number of standards. In California, the Complete Phlebotomy Training (CPT) is an organization that is accredited by the Better Business Bureau and approved by the California Department of Public Health, Laboratory Field Services. The CPT offers three courses that meet the requirements of the State of California. The first course available is ‘Basic (101). Entering students must possess a high school diploma or equivalent. Students learn basic anatomy, physiology, infection control, and phlebotomy theory. The course is about 20 hours in length. Upon completion students may enroll in ‘Advanced (102)’. A follow-up to the basic theory class, students will learn in-depth about infection control, the cardiovascular system, and pre-analytical errors that should be avoided.
Phlebotomy law and ethics will also be covered. Again, the course is approximately 20 hours in length. Students may then enroll in ‘Clinical (103)’. Students are introduced to phlebotomy equipment and blood collection. Following completion of this third course, students are placed with an instructor in the field to gain hands-on clinical experience. This course is approximately 40 hours in length. Tuition for the entire program is approximately $1750, which includes a one-time registration fee and the required textbook. Continuing education courses are also available for currently certified phlebotomists.