A solid education in phlebotomy training is an asset to a phlebotomist. It is possible but very difficult to become a practicing phlebotomist without having completed an accredited training program and having acquired certification. Phlebotomists will likely encounter exams in their training program. Certification is achieved through the successful completion of a standardized phlebotomy exam. Study guides help technicians thoroughly prepare for exams. Phlebotomists enrolled in training programs should start by asking their instructor for recommended reading lists, which may include study guides.
Preparing for a national certification exam may seem intimidating; failing the exam can affect a phlebotomist’s chance of finding employment. While not required by law of practicing phlebotomists (except in California and Louisiana), many employers will not hire non-certified technicians. Additional study guides will be beneficial to phlebotomists without formal training. Even graduates or those currently enrolled in a training program may choose to use a study guide. Each certifying agency suggests and provides different materials. If you are writing your exam through the American Certifying Agency (ACA), an examination study guide and content outline will be mailed to you.
The National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT) offers a review book, practice test, and various packages; all of which can be purchased online. The American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) offers free examination content guidelines and suggested reading lists online. Access to online practice tests can be purchased; access is granted for 90 days. The American Medical Technologists (AMT) offers a downloadable candidate handbook, exam outline, and suggested reading list. A practice test may be purchase for a small fee.
Studying for a certification exam can be stressful. Phlebotomist may look for additional study guides. There are many resources available to phlebotomy students. One recommended study guide is the Phlebotomy Exam Review (3rd edition), written by Ruth E. McCall and Cathee M. Tankersley. This study guide prepares readers for ten national exams, including the ACA, NCCT, and ASCP.
The review guide follows the accreditation guidelines for both the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS) and the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI). This comprehensive book is written in outline format and contains content review in over 800 multiple choice questions, complete with answer and explanation. Another beneficial study tool is flashcards. Many different phlebotomy websites provide flashcards that can be purchased in hardcopy or downloaded. The Study Shack (www.studyshack.com) has 79 interactive phlebotomy flashcards.
There are numerous texts and books available to those interested in phlebotomy. Many resources are available in hardcopy and online. If you have little or no previous background in healthcare and phlebotomy, then the textbook Phlebotomy Simplified may be for you. Written by Kathleen Becan-McBride and Diana Garza, this text provides case studies, end-of-chapter review questions, and is accompanied by a CD.
For serious phlebotomists, consider purchasing a copy of Procedures for the Collection of Diagnostic Blood Specimens by Venipuncture (6th edition) or Procedures and Devices for the Collection of Diagnostic Capillary Blood Specimens (6th edition). Both texts are produced by the CLSI and are the basis of many facilities’ written procedures. The Applied Phlebotomy textbook, written by Dennis J Ernst, reflects the standards of the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI). This book is for those with a basic understanding of healthcare and blood collection but is great for anyone interested in how to become a phlebotomist.