How long does it take to become a Phlebotomist?

Fel Gonzaga
May 10, 2023

Phlebotomists are essential healthcare workers. They perform needed tests to help doctors diagnose and treat their patients. In this blog post, we'll explore how long it takes to become a phlebotomist and understand its time frame.

What is phlebotomy?

Phlebotomy is the practice of drawing blood for medical testing, performing transfusions, or collecting blood donations. A phlebotomist collects blood samples from patients safely and effectively with the use of needles, syringes, and blood tubes. 

How long is a phlebotomy course?

Phlebotomy training programs can take anywhere between 2 weeks to 6 months to complete. During the training, you will engage in at least 40 hours of classroom instruction.

Each state has varying hands-on experience requirements to complete. The average amount of hands-on experience needed is around 100 - 120 hours. You also need to do at least 30 successful skin punctures and 100 successful venipunctures.

  • Skin punctures are a type of blood draw that involves pricking the skin with a small needle, usually on the finger or heel. This is to collect a small amount of blood for testing.
  • Venipunctures involve inserting a needle into a vein, usually in the arm. This is to collect a larger amount of blood for testing or transfusion.

Trade schools, technical schools, and community colleges offer training programs in phlebotomy. Check out our blog post on how to become a phlebotomist and learn your way to becoming one! 

Phlebotomy training requirements

The specific requirements to enroll in a phlebotomy training program vary by school and program. Here are some common requirements for phlebotomy training:    

  • High school diploma or equivalent: You may need a high school diploma or equivalent as a minimum educational requirement.
  • Background check and drug screening: You also need to pass a background check and drug screening before enrollment.
  • Immunization records: You may need proof of immunizations. This can include Hepatitis B, Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR), and/or tuberculosis (TB) tests.
  • Basic computer skills: You may need to complete some coursework online during training. Basic computer skills could save you from a lot of distress.

It's necessary to check with the specific school or program you want to enroll in for their specific enrollment requirements.  

How long does it take to become certified?

The short answer is that it varies. The timeframe for becoming a certified Phlebotomist depends on two different factors. 

1. The two-part test: The certification exam consists of a written and practical part. The written part includes 100 multiple-choice questions with a passing score of at least 70%.

  • During the practical part, you need to perform venipunctures and skin punctures on real patients. This is under the supervision of a licensed or certified phlebotomist.
  • The written exam and the practical component take about 2 hours each to complete.

2. Waiting period: It may take 2 weeks to a few months before you can take the certification exam. The timeframe for receiving your certification also varies by certification agency. Some offer immediate online results. Others may take 2 weeks or longer to process and mail your certification.

It is always best to check the processing time of the certifying agency where you choose to take the test.

Awarding of Phlebotomy certificate at Necole’s Learning Academy

Phlebotomy certification

Certification is not always a requirement, depending on the state you live in. It's a voluntary process that demonstrates knowledge and skill in a particular area. Getting a certification increases your chance of finding better jobs, keeping patients safe, and advancing your career.

The steps of taking your phlebotomy certification can vary depending on your state’s requirements and the certifying organization. In most cases, you’ll do the following:

  1. Choose a certification organization and select the specific certification exam you want to take.
  2. Meet the eligibility requirements. This may include completing an accredited phlebotomy training program or gaining a certain amount of work experience.
  3. Register for the exam online or by mail, and pay the exam fee.
  4. Schedule a testing appointment at a designated testing center.
  5. Take the exam on the scheduled date and receive your exam results.

Here's a list of the nationally-recognized  professional organizations:

  1. National Association for Health Professionals (NAHP)
  2. National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT)
  3. National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
  4. American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians (ASPT)
  5. American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
  6. American Medical Technologists (AMT)
  7. American Certification Agency (ACA)

Phlebotomy license

Licensure is a legal requirement to practice in a certain field. Phlebotomy licensure agencies and requirements vary by state. Some states that need licensure for phlebotomists include California, Louisiana, Nevada, and Washington. If you're in one of these states, you may need a certification to get a license.

Below is the process for taking your licensure examination:  

  1. Check the licensure requirements for your state to determine if a licensure exam is required to practice as a phlebotomist.
  2. Meet the eligibility requirements, which may include completing an accredited phlebotomy training program or gaining a certain amount of work experience.
  3. Apply for a license with the appropriate state agency and pay any required fees.
  4. Schedule a testing appointment at a designated testing center if a licensure exam is required.
  5. Take the exam on the scheduled date and receive your exam results.

It's important to note that the specific steps and requirements for the licensure exam may vary depending on the organization and state in which you plan to practice as a phlebotomist.

Final Thoughts

Overall it may take anywhere between 4 to 8 months to become a phlebotomist and up to a year with certifications and licensing. Start a rewarding career in healthcare and make an impact on the lives of others. Take a step closer by finding phlebotomy schools near you!

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Written by
Fel Gonzaga

Fel is a student support representative who guides enrollees to the right program and answers their queries. She's committed to helping students and takes pride in her work. In her free time, she enjoys sightseeing and hanging out with loved ones.

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