Anyone who enjoys talking to a wide assortment of people every single day and who doesn’t mind a career where they work with blood and needles, will find that they can earn a good living as a professional phlebotomist. The average phlebotomist earns $36,000 a year. Between getting trained and seeking professional positions you have to pass the phlebotomy certification exam.
While certification is mandatory only in four states (California, Washington, Louisiana and Nevada), it may be demanded outside those jurisdictions by your potential employer, or it can simply make the difference in your favour when job hunting. For those reasons you should seriously consider taking the phlebotomy certification exam.
How to Select the Certification Organization
Each organisation will impose it’s own set of rules when it comes to examinations. There are also small differences between the requirements you have to meet in order to qualify for certification, so you should definitely check those aspects. Here are a few things you must take in consideration:
1. Is it recognize by the state where you want to live and work? Not every accreditation institution is the same. Double check if they meet the criteria imposed by your state legislation. Most certificates are nationwide valid, however, California only recognise 6 certification bodies.
2. Distance. Yes, the signup process will be possible to be accomplished online, but in most cases you will have to be present to take the exam itself. Check to see where the exam will took place. You don’t want to end up crossing the country at your expenses. Most institution will organise different exams in various places of the country, so chances are you’ll be able to take certification exam close to your home.
3. Do you qualify for certification? The pre qualification demands each institution impose to their candidates can slightly vary from one to another. There may be differences when it comes to the studies you must have or the type and length of your previous working experience. The best thing you can do is to carefully research for this aspect on the institution website.
4. Exam Cost. The price of the certification exam varies from one testing organization to the other. The examination fee ranges from $50.00 to $150. Some of the testing organizations have set up programs that provides a discounted price to veterans or students who participated in a particular training course. Do your homework and understand the cost of the process.
TIP: use our unique List of Certifying Phlebotomy Organisations to start with. We provide you with physical address, website, certification types and price for each institution. This will really help you to decide what is the best institution for your particular situation.
What Will the Certification Exam be Like
Each phlebotomy certification exam can be a little different. You should expect it to be between 50 and 300 questions long and to cover all aspects of the field.
Some institutions will require you to perform a practical test as well. For example, The American Certification Agency has a written and practical application exam. The practical application portion can sometimes be taken at the same place you received your training and will require you to draw blood, identify layers of epidermis, and label samples. The written portion of the test will take about 2 hours, and the practical aspects portion will take another hour. The American Society for Clinical Pathology provides a written test but doesn’t have a practical applications test.
Usually the certification exam will be administered by computer instead of traditional hard copy with pencil.
What is CAT? Computer Adaptive Testing means that your next set of questions will be selected based on your performance on the previous questions. Your score will depend not only on the number of correct questions you answered, but also on the difficulty of those questions. This method it is in use but many organisations.
What Happens if You Don’t Pass
The good news is that even if you don’t pass the certification exam, not everything is loss. You can take the exam again, though you will have to pay a second fee. The key to successfully retaking the exam will be exploring the areas you struggled with the first time. Most organizations require you wait at least a month before trying again. But hey, who says you won’t pass from the first time?
Phlebotomy Certification Exam Questions
The exam covers a wide variety of topics, including;
- Identifying the acronyms used for different government agencies
- How to follow different safety protocols when handling a blood sample
- Knowing all personal protection equipment requirements
- Equipment used for blood collection
- Blood collection practices
- Tube order of draw
- The different components of blood
- Potential real life scenarios that could happen in the workplace and how to handle and store each one properly
- Ethics of phlebotomy
The exam questions are based on standards and procedures developed by the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI) and will refer to typical phlebotomy procedures like venipuncture and skin puncture.
Visit the website of the organisation where you plan to take the phlebotomy certification exam and look for studying related information. In most cases they have extensive data, including suggestion about what books you should use and similar preparation materials.
Phlebotomy Practice Tests and Study Guides. How to Study and Test Yourself from Home
When it comes to taking the Phlebotomy certification exam, there are lots of resources you can turn to for help. It’s in your best interest to train for the certification test by simulating it with the help of widely available practice tests. You will have to answer a lot of questions similar to the ones you’ll find out in the actual certification exam. After taking the certification practice test, you will be able to identify which areas of study you need to focus on before facing the real challenge.
The Phlebotomy National Study Guide provides you a great, at-a-glance, information detailing everything from terms to procedures that will be covered on the test. The information can be easily converted into flash cards.
Taking the practice tests will give you a solid idea of what area’s you need to focus on in order to pass with the highest possible grade, but don’t get so caught up in those sections of phlebotomy that you ignore the rest of the subject. The phlebotomy certification exam is pretty broad. At least once a week, you should review all of your course material. Arranging some of your classmates into a steady study group helps.
Study guides and practice tests go along way towards helping you prepare. So will teleconferences hosted by the American Society of Clinical Pathology. The conferences cover everything from the type of questions you’ll encounter on the exam, the best ways to prep, and testing strategies. Another advantage of the teleconferences is that you’ll make connections in your field which could lead to a future job.
A Few Study Tips to Train Like a Pro
1. Positive attitude. Set your mind on the success rather than on the difficulties of the exam. Be confident in your own forces and capabilities. This way your brain will concentrate on the things that matter and you’ll become successful with your examination process
2. Develop a routine. It may sounds boring, but developing a consistent pattern for your studies will help you concentrate and perform better. Set up a place and time when to study and keep up to your plan. After a productive hour of studying you can reward yourself with something that you like. A tasty fruit, some chocolate maybe, or a good coffee, as you prefer. Do this every time and you’ll end up with some very helpful reflex that will keep you on track with the schedule
3. Study in a inspiring place. If the site you’re performing your preparation is adecvat to it you will be able to concentrate on what matters and avoid distractions. You should opt for a desk or a table with proper lighting and in a quiet place. TV must be turned of.
4. Eat proper food. Feed your body and your brain with the substances they need to be efficient. Try to eat fish, nuts and small quantities of black chocolate. Avoid sodas and junk food.
5. Study when you are rested. When your body feels fatigue it will be difficult for your brain to process and store all the information. Try to relax before proceeding. Sometimes a short nap can help, but don’t exaggerate.
6. Be persistent. You hear many times that the hardest part is getting started. Actually in most cases the hardest part is to keep going. Don’t let go on your studies and preparations and you will definitely pass the phlebotomy certification exam like a breeze.
What to read next:
- Phlebotomy Training and Certification Guide
- Find out why you really need certification
- Select your training school with care