Phlebotomists play an important role in healthcare, as they draw blood from patients for lab tests, diagnosis, blood donations, or research.
Most commonly, phlebotomists work in hospitals, diagnostic laboratories, ambulatory healthcare services, physicians’ offices, or outpatient care centers.
Certified phlebotomists are projected to be in-demand in these facilities in the foreseeable future. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 22% job growth for phlebotomists from 2020 to 2030, which is very robust.  .
What is Phlebotomy?
Phlebotomy is the act of removing blood from a patient for medical examination, usually by puncturing a vein in the arm with a needle. This is sometimes known as a venipuncture or a blood draw. The blood is usually sent to a lab in a vial or tube for further analysis.
Phlebotomists draw blood from patients via venipuncture or less commonly, finger pricks or heel pricks (in pediatric medicine). Phlebotomists must be certified to draw blood from patients according to state regulations.
In California, there are six certifying bodies that can grant certifications for phlebotomists.
- American Certification Agency (ACA)
- American Medical Certification Association (AMCA)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
- American Society of Clinical Pathologists (ASCP)
- National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT/MMCI)
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
Certified Phlebotomy Technician (CBT-ACA)
The Certified Phlebotomy Technician (CBT) is offered by the American Certification Agency for Healthcare Professionals (ACA). You can take the questions in an online exam format, but you must pass a practical exam in a clinical setting. To be eligible for this certification exam, you will require:
High school diploma or equivalent.
- Complete an approved phlebotomy training course.
- Finish at least one year experience as phlebotomist technician.
- Have a current certification from an ACA approved agency.
- Evidence of documented 100 venipunctures and 10 skin punctures.
Exam Structure: Online exam questions with practical exam in a medical facility environment.
Exam Fee: $100
Phlebotomy Technician Certification (PTC-AMCA)
This certification is offered by the American Medical Certification Association (AMCA). Eligibility for taking this exam includes:
- Complete an approved phlebotomy training program that includes clinical practice.
- Applicant has performed at least 30 venipunctures and 10 capillary punctures.
This certification is a bit unique, as you can bundle phlebotomy certification with the AMCA’s EKG Technician and Patient Care technician certification, for a reduced fee.
Exam Structure: 100 multiple-choice questions, exam takes about two hours.
Exam Fee: $109
Registered Phlebotomy Technician, (RPT-AMT)
The Registered Phlebotomy Certification (RPT) certification is offered by American Medical Technologists (AMT). Eligibility for taking this exam means having the following:
- Passing an accredited phlebotomy training course sometime in the last four years.
- Complete at least 1040 hours of field experience as a phlebotomy technician in the last three years.
- Work as a health program instructor with at least three years of teaching experience.
- Completed at least 50 venipunctures and 10 skin punctures from patients.
You can also pay the exam fee if you already have a phlebotomist certification from another organization.
Candidates can take this exam up to four times in a year if they do not pass the first time.
Exam Fee: $120
Phlebotomy Technician Certification (PBT-ASCP)
This certification is offered by the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP). Eligibility for this exam requires:
- High school diploma or equivalent
Two, complete one of the following:
- Graduate an approved phlebotomy training program
- Take 40 hours of classroom training and 100 hours of practice
- At least one year of experience as a phlebotomy technician
- Earn a medical degree that includes phlebotomy training
Exam Structure: 80 multiple choice questions, takes about 120 minutes to complete.
Exam Fee: $135
Phlebotomy Technician Certification (NCPT)
The phlebotomy technician (NCPT) certification is offered by the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT). To be eligible for this phlebotomy certification, you must meet one of the following criteria:
- High school diploma or equivalent
- Graduated a NCCT-approved training program, or
- 2080 hours (one year) of work experience as a phlebotomy technician in the last five years, or
- Completed phlebotomy technician training in the U.S. Military in the last five years.
Exam fee: $135
Note: The NCCT is also affiliated with the Multiskilled Medical Certification Institute (MMCI), a tax-exempt 501c6 incorporated in 1999 as an independent, not-for-profit testing agency. MMCI contracts with the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT) to provide its National Certified Phlebotomy Technician (NCPT) certification examination, as the NCPT certification program has earned accreditation by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). MMCI wanted to be sure California CPT1 candidates would hold a quality certification recognized in all fifty states, including the state of California.
Certified Phlebotomy Technician (CPT-NHA)
The National Healthcareer Association has certified over half a million health care professionals over the last twenty-five years. The NHA offers nationally recognized certifications and is itself accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).
The Certified Phlebotomy Technician has two levels.
- Certified Phlebotomy Technician (CPT I) – skin puncture and venipuncture.
- Certified Phlebotomy Technician (CPT II) – skin puncture, venipuncture and arterial draws.
There is also a limited phlebotomy technician role, but employers are usually looking for a CPT for practical reasons.
- Limited Phlebotomy Technician (LPT) – skin puncture phlebotomy only
Requirements for the exam are as follows:
- High school diploma or equivalent
- Complete an approved phlebotomy training program, and one-year hands-on experience
- Performed at least 30 venipunctures and 10 capillary sticks on patients
Exam Fee: $115
Phlebotomy Training Requirements in California
California state law requires that all students enrolled in the phlebotomist program complete a 40-80 hour laboratory externship along with the classroom courses. This externship is unpaid but is at no additional cost. The externship program is coordinated by MTI College with Sacramento area medical laboratories, clinics or hospitals. This additional training ensures that students understand the practical implications of their coursework.
Start Your Medical Career in Phlebotomy
If you’re located in the Sacramento area, and want to start a career in the medical field, MTI College offers both a Phlebotomy Certification Program and a Medical Assisting with Phlebotomy Certification Program. Healthcare jobs are projected to be in very high demand for the next decade, from 2020 to 2030. MTI College can help get you started in a rewarding healthcare career with phlebotomy training.
If you have any questions, call our team at (916) 339-1500 or use the Request Information form today. You can also complete the online application and an admissions advisor will walk you through the process.
We look forward to helping you start your healthcare career.
 Note: The data provided above are from a source unaffiliated with MTI College, are for informational purposes only and represent the employment field as a whole. They are not solely specific to MTI graduates and, by providing the above information, MTI makes no representation, direct or implied, or opinion regarding employability.