These days, many schools now offer online courses as a way to provide students with more flexibility in their schedule, allowing the student to complete the coursework based on their schedule and not the tight deadlines of the program instructor. Students interested in enrolling in phlebotomy certification online courses will soon learn that while they can complete some of the coursework online, the certification exam must be taken at a local testing facility. Unfortunately, you’ll be hard-pressed to find any legitimate certification exams online for the phlebotomy field.
However, you can enroll in an online program and complete up to seventy percent of the program’s coursework online, which is a huge plus for any working student. There are also phlebotomy programs that now include certification exam prep courses, so you’ll be well prepared for the exam at the end of the program.
These online prep courses can mean the difference between earning your certification or being stuck in a desperate loop of retaking the certification exam. Fortunately, many schools now offer this online certification prep course.
Certification Prep Courses
Online certification prep courses will prepare you for the extensive certification exam that you’ll take once you’ve completed the clinical portion. While not every state requires the phlebotomy technician to obtain certification in order to be eligible for employment, nearly every phlebotomy program will offer an online prep class for the exam because most employers prefer to hire phlebotomists who are certified.
Certification in phlebotomy can also be obtained by any professional in the healthcare field. In fact, some of the best nursing schools will include a phlebotomy component and will urge students to obtain certification after graduation.
Do I Qualify for the Phlebotomy Certification Exam?
Certification for this field is only required in four states including Nevada, California, Louisiana, and Washington. However, most employers prefer or even require their technicians to be certified.
To qualify for the exam, you not only need to complete an accredited certificate or degree program, but you must also have completed thirty successful venipuncture procedures and ten capillary sticks on live patients. You must also have a high school diploma or GED, and be at least eighteen years of age
Choosing a Certification Agency
Each certifying agency will impose its own set of rules in terms of the certification exam. When searching for an agency you’ll notice small differences between the requirements you must meet in order to be eligible to sit for the exam.
Not every certifying agency is the same. Make sure that the organization is recognized by the state in which you reside. As an example, California only recognizes six agencies.
Next, make sure the agency you choose has a local testing facility. While you can sign up for the phlebotomy technician certification online, you must take the exam in person at an appointed testing center. The testing center is typically a local college.
You must also consider the exam cost, which can range from $150 up to $225, depending on the agency.
What’s Covered in the Certification Exam?
Each exam will be a little different, depending on the agency you go through. However, you can expect it to be between one hundred and three hundred questions long and it will cover every aspect of the field. Some organizations require you to complete a practical component. The American Certification Agency offers a practical and written exam, while the Society for Clinical Pathology only requires you to complete a written exam. The practical portion usually takes place at the same facility where you received your hands-on training. This portion of the test requires you to perform a venipuncture procedure, label the sample, and identify the different layers of the epidermis. The written part of the exam often takes at least two hours to complete.
The exam is often taken on a computer, instead of a traditional hard copy test. Many testing facilities use computer adaptive testing. With this type of testing, the exam questions you’re given will be chosen based on how you answered each previous question. Your final score depends on both the difficulty of the questions and the amount of questions you answered correctly.
What Happens if You Fail the Exam
Don’t worry if you don’t pass the exam the first time around. You’ll be able to retake it, however, you’ll have to pay another test fee. The key to successfully retaking it will involve exploring the areas you struggled in during the first test. Keep in mind that most organizations will make you wait at least thirty days before you’re eligible for the retake exam.
Common Exam Questions
The exam will cover a wide variety of topics, including the following:
• Identifying the different components of blood
• Identifying common acronyms used
• Safety protocols
• Tube order of draw
• Required personal protection equipment
• Collection practices
• How to handle real-life scenarios that can happen during a draw
• Phlebotomy ethics
The questions on the exam are based on procedures and standards that were developed by the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute. These questions will refer to standard procedures including skin puncture and venipuncture. You can visit the CLSI’s website and check out testing strategies, tips on how to prepare, and you can even take a practice exam so you’ll have a better idea of what areas you struggle with.
Phlebotomy Exam Study Guides and Practice Tests
When it comes to taking the certification exam, there are plenty of resources out there that you can turn to if you need more help. We recommend enrolling in a phlebotomy certification online training course. You should also take as many practice tests as possible.
The Phlebotomy National Study Guide provides students with plenty of information regarding what will be on the test, and how to prepare. The certification exam can be pretty broad, and because of this, you’ll need to review all of your course material. Practice tests and study guides will go a long way towards preparing you for the big day.