A phlebotomist draws blood from patients. They are trained and professional healthcare workers who are a critical member of any medical team. Like other medical professions licenses are also required in phlebotomy. The only difference is only two states require certification for a practising phlebotomist. These two states are California and Louisiana. In most of the states only one level of certification is available. In California you can obtain certifications of three levels.
Phlebotomist with limited experience and qualification are only allowed to collect blood through skin punctures. If a person has done Certified Phlebotomy Technician I, then he or she is authorized to perform venipuncture and skin puncture collection. The third level is of a certified Phlebotomy Technician II and a phlebotomist who has done this certification is allowed to perform skin and arterial punctures and venipunctures.
It is important to realize the difference between a training program and a certification. Certification does not come automatically with the training program. A person has to pass an exam conducted by a certifying agency or authority for obtaining a certification. Training programs have different procedures, some are affiliated with certifying agencies or authorized by the state and thus are able to offer the exam after completion of training and some are not able to offer the all important exam.
Unless there are compelling reasons to choose other wise try to get enrolled in an accredited or certified training program. The main reason is that a certified program would offer education which meets the required standards of Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI). Phlebotomy programs are accredited by various agencies; they include National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS) and National Phlebotomy Association (NPA). You can search for accredited training programs through the internet or can obtain the desired information from the relevant state department or the accredited agency e.g. NAACLS website has a list of accredited training programs in the country.
You may ask why such emphasis is placed on certification when almost all the states of the country do not require it. The answer is simple most of the employer ask for it because they know a certified phlebotomist would have a certain level of training, skill and experience. So they have made it a bench mark. Also less experienced phlebotomist can use it to get an advantage over their more experienced comrades in the hunt for a job.
Certifications which are recognized across the country are offered by the following five authorities or agencies. You can apply online for the exam for all these agencies. They include The American Certification Agency (ACA) for Healthcare Professionals which offers two different phlebotomy certifications. One is phlebotomy technician and the second is phlebotomy instructor. The American Medical Technologists (AMT) also conducts the certification program. The National Centre for Competency Testing (NCCT) also offers two different certificates in phlebotomy one is phlebotomy technician and the other is donor phlebotomist. The fourth agency, the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) has the facility of taking certification exam for phlebotomy students. The fifth agency the National Phlebotomy Association (NPA) not only conducts the exam but also gives accreditation to different phlebotomy training programs.
These agencies normally allow those students to take the certification exam who have either completed a training program or have extensive documented experience of phlebotomy.
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