Many aspiring healthcare professionals think they can only go one of two routes: nursing school or medical school. However, there are dozens of critically important jobs in hospitals, emergency rooms, and other clinical settings that support doctors and nurses.
One of those avenues is working as a phlebotomist. A phlebotomist specializes in venipuncture, the practice of drawing blood for testing or donation. Phlebotomy training is a great way to secure an entry-level position in the medical field and develop critical skills as an allied health professional.
The best phlebotomy certification programs are affordable, comprehensive, and prepare you to sit for the certification exams. We reviewed and compared 20 programs before making our top picks.
The Best Phlebotomy Certification Programs in 2021
Best Overall : American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
Why We Chose It: This short but thorough phlebotomy certification program positions aspiring phlebotomists as experts and prepares them for an entry-level job in the healthcare field.
Offers several routes to certification to accommodate students with different backgrounds, schedules, and interests
Online and in-person class options
Accredited by five third-party organizations
Offers job placement assistance
In-person course option limits students to Garden City, Michigan
Combination course alternatives make it hard to choose
Website is somewhat difficult to navigate
Phlebotomy Career Training offers in-person and online phlebotomy training courses, as well as combination certification programs that certify students as phlebotomists and telemetrists, IV technicians, and/or certified medical assistants.
The phlebotomy-only course covers venipuncture skills, centrifugation, anatomy and physiology, microbiology, specimen handling, and other skills, knowledge, and techniques necessary to succeed as a phlebotomist. The combination courses can provide students with extra knowledge and additional certifications to open up more career opportunities.
Phlebotomy Career Training courses prepare students to sit for the National Association of Phlebotomy Technicians certifying exam, which is one of the longest-standing phlebotomy certification exams in the U.S. The cost of the course includes the exam fee.
Students who chose the in-person course should expect to attend classes for six weeks followed by four weeks of hands-on clinical practice. The online course takes 70 clock hours and it’s entirely self-paced. It covers the same topics as the in-person class, minus hands-on blood draws, a requirement that can be waived for students with prior experience.
There are no clinical prerequisites for either course, so students can opt for the online course even if they’re brand new to phlebotomy. However, most employers require hands-on training and may not hire certified students without such training. If you want to take the online course, look into internship opportunities in your area. Many hospitals and clinics hire new phlebotomists as interns, where you can gain clinical experience under supervision.
The cost of the in-person phlebotomy training is $1,000 and the cost of the online course is $500. Students in both the in-person and online courses will also receive a hazardous materials handler certification free of charge.
For students who want to continue their education, Phlebotomy Career Training also offers clinical rotations throughout the state of Michigan, during which students can gain additional hands-on clinical experience.
Phlebotomy Career Training requires prospective students to have a high school diploma or equivalent as well as pass a background check.
Additionally, Phlebotomy Career Training offers job placement assistance as students near the end of their phlebotomy training, which something most other phlebotomy training courses don’t offer.
Best Accelerated Program : Chicago School of Phlebotomy
Why We Chose It: In just four weeks, the Chicago School of Phlebotomy provides advanced clinical phlebotomy training and hands-on experience.
Short course helps students build upon foundational phlebotomy practices
Requires just six hours per week for four weeks
Offers weekly payment plans
Requires prior clinical education or experience
No online option available
Course does not include clinical internship or externship
The Chicago School of Phlebotomy offers a few allied health education programs, including phlebotomy training and accelerated phlebotomy training.
The accelerated program is an intermediate course, meaning students must have some prior clinical education or experience, as it's intended to complement the student's current medical training. This accelerated phlebotomy course covers advanced venipuncture techniques, medical laboratory terminology, finger and heel sticks, common blood-drawing difficulties, and more.
Of the few downfalls to this program, one big drawback is that students must be able to take classes at the Chicago campus. This is a limitation and rules out the Chicago School of Phlebotomy for many aspiring phlebotomists.
In-person classes include lectures, discussions, and practical instruction. Classes meet for three hours twice a week, for four weeks. To get into this course, prospective students must be 18 or older, have a high school diploma or equivalent, and have prior experience or education in the healthcare field. As the school only allows experienced practitioners to take the course, no internships or externships follow the program.
If you don’t qualify to take the accelerated phlebotomy course, look into the school’s regular phlebotomy certification program, which takes seven weeks and starts with the foundations of phlebotomy. The four-week accelerated course costs $650, not including the costs students will incur for medical attire, lodging, and transportation to the campus.
Best Intensive Program : National Phlebotomy Association (NPA)
Why We Chose It: This 26-week phlebotomy certification course is the most comprehensive training not associated with a university, and it includes a 220-hour clinical externship.
Intensive curriculum covers everything from history to chemistry of phlebotomy
Curriculum includes clinical hands-on externship
Tuition includes lab fees, textbooks, and board-certifying fee
Students must be able to attend classes in Maryland
Requires non-refundable application and registration fees totaling $200
School is not equipped to admit disabled students
Aspiring phlebotomy technologists likely won’t find any courses more intensive or comprehensive than the training from the National Phlebotomy Association (NPA). The NPA offers a university-like, 26-week (six-month) program that includes a 220-hour clinical externship. Tuition and fees add up to $1,670, according to the student handbook.
To gain admittance to this program, students must have a high school diploma or equivalent, as well as pass a physical exam and present immunization records for various diseases. These requirements are to protect the student and others during clinical practicums.
The NPA phlebotomy training prepares students to sit for the NPA’s national certifying exam to become a certified phlebotomist technologist. With a campus located in Landover, Maryland, the NPA phlebotomy course heavily emphasizes hands-on learning, so students can expect to spend a lot of time practicing the skills they’ll use every day in the workforce. The NPA phlebotomy certification course starts with the history and foundations of phlebotomy, segueing into the soft and hard skills needed to succeed as a phlebotomist. To graduate and sit for the exam, all students must complete a 220-hour clinical externship during which they are assigned to a senior phlebotomist as a mentor and supervisor.
Once you’re certified through the NPA, you must renew your certification every three years by paying the $90 renewal fee. There is no additional exam required to renew.
Alternatively, students who have already taken a different NPA-approved training can apply to take the exam for a fee of $130. Those who have been practicing as a phlebotomist but who are not yet certified can also apply to take the NPA phlebotomy exam by submitting proof of work history through the organization’s reclamation program.
Best Online Option : American National University
Why We Chose It: American National University offers a fully online phlebotomist and echocardiogram diploma program as well as two hybrid programs at the Kentucky campuses.
100% online phlebotomy training that includes ECG training, a valuable skill for entry-level phlebotomists
Stepping stone to medical assisting associate’s degree at ANU
Online course is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC)
36 credit-hour course is longer than most
Not all courses are offered every term, which may delay certification
Much more expensive than the other training programs on this list
Most phlebotomy schools don’t offer online-only training because phlebotomy is such a hands-on practice. The majority of schools emphasize clinical practicums and it’s tough to provide all the skills training a phlebotomist needs without in-person classes.
However, American National University managed to create a comprehensive phlebotomy plus echocardiogram training to prepare students for entry-level jobs in the field of phlebotomy. To be admitted into the program, prospective students must have a high school diploma or GED equivalent at a minimum.
ANU emphasizes that many of its phlebotomy course instructors are also practicing phlebotomists, so students can rest assured knowing they’re receiving an education from professionals who are up to date on current best practices, skills, and techniques in phlebotomy.
Though the course can be taken completely online, students still must log into video lectures at predetermined times. Students can complete all other coursework, including homework, quizzes, and studying on their own time as long as they adhere to course deadlines.
Since this is an online course, you’ll have to look into local options to gain the hands-on experience most employers require. Reach out to hospitals and clinics near you to see if they offer supervised internships for newly certified phlebotomists. Or, you can look into the hybrid courses at the Kentucky ANU campuses.
This program is that it serves as a stepping stone to other ANU programs, including an associate’s degree and bachelor’s degree. So, if you want to begin working as a phlebotomist now but wish to advance your career later, ANU is a good place to start.
However, prospective students should be aware that not all phlebotomy courses are offered each semester, so certification may be delayed. If all of the required courses are offered each term, students can expect this phlebotomy course to take six to 12 months. At $350 per credit hour, the tuition total adds up to $12,600, which is far more expensive than the other programs on this list. However, the curriculum is more thorough, which may make it worth it to some prospective students.
Best Value : Heart to Heart Healthcare Training
Why We Chose It: This eight-week blended format phlebotomy training covers everything aspiring phlebotomists need to know for just over $1,000.
Low tuition for a comprehensive eight-week training
Offers payment plans and financial assistance
Blended format allows for a somewhat flexible schedule
Students must be able to attend labs at one of two Michigan campuses
Tuition doesn’t include the cost of the national phlebotomist certifying exam
Requires a $300 registration deposit (but this is applied to your total dues)
Aspiring phlebotomy technicians can get the most bang for their educational buck by attending Heart to Heart Healthcare Training’s phlebotomy training certification course. The total cost of this eight-week phlebotomy training is $1,075, which includes the cost of all lab supplies. Students are responsible for purchasing scrubs and the course textbook, as well as paying for the national board-certifying exam fee ($115) and covering living costs.
The Heart to Heart Healthcare Training phlebotomy course is delivered in a blended format, meaning students will attend some in-person classes and complete other coursework online. Students will attend labs at the Ypsilanti or Essexville, Michigan, campus for two hours, twice a week. Online coursework includes lectures, PowerPoints, homework, quizzes, and exams.
Heart to Heart Healthcare Training does not offer federal financial aid, but the institution does have financial assistance through Climb Credit and Michigan Works. Students can also opt to enroll in a payment plan if they don’t qualify for financial aid.
The only admission requirement for Heart to Heart Healthcare Training is that you must be 18 years of age. The curriculum for this phlebotomy certification program covers the soft and hard skills needed for a successful phlebotomy career, including patient communication and blood-draw techniques.
Ultimately, the best phlebotomy certification program for you depends on several personal factors unique to each student: your education budget, opportunities for financial aid, available time, and desired depth of coverage will all influence your final decision. The phlebotomy certifications described here all prepare you to sit for an exam that leads to professional certification and will establish you as competent in the field.
|Best Phlebotomy Certification Programs|
|Phlebotomy Certification Program||Why We Chose It||Time to Completion||Cost|
|American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)||Best Overall||As little as 4 weeks||$1,000 (in-person)
|Chicago School of Phlebotomy||Best Part-Time Program||4 weeks||$650|
|National Phlebotomy Association (NPA)||Best Intensive Program||26 weeks + 220-hour externship||$1,675|
|American National University||Best Online Option||Varies (36 credit hours)||$12,600|
|Heart to Heart Healthcare Training||Best Value||8 weeks||$1,075|
What Do You Learn in a Phlebotomy Certification Program?
A phlebotomist works in a clinical setting and collects blood for various purposes, usually donation or testing. Students in a phlebotomy certification program learn to safely draw blood.
Most phlebotomy certification programs cover the history of phlebotomy along with skills training, which includes labeling and sanitizing medical equipment, venipuncture (puncturing the vein), blood drawing techniques, blood storage and transport, safety protocols, and more.
Many phlebotomy courses also emphasize soft-skills training to ensure phlebotomists can effectively communicate with patients, explain the procedure, calm their nerves, and make patients feel comfortable and confident during the blood-drawing process.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Certified Phlebotomist?
The length of phlebotomy training courses varies greatly. Some programs certify students in as little as four weeks, while other programs may take up to two years. Longer programs are generally more comprehensive and intensive, and some serve as stepping stones to associate’s or bachelor’s degree programs. According to All Allied Health Schools, phlebotomy training takes four to eight months on average.
How Much Do Phlebotomy Certification Programs Cost?
Phlebotomy training varies in cost. Some phlebotomy certification courses cost just a few hundred dollars while others cost thousands. Factors that affect the cost of phlebotomy certification programs include:
- Length of the program
- Non-refundable fees, such as registration and application fees
- Program format (online, in-person, or hybrid)
- Whether the certification exam cost is included
- Whether materials and books are provided
Thanks to the abundance of phlebotomy training programs available, all aspiring students should be able to find a suitable program that fits their budget.
Do You Need to Complete a Phlebotomy Certification Program to Get a Job as a Phlebotomist?
As of March 2021, only three states require a current and valid phlebotomy certification to practice as a phlebotomist in a clinical setting: Louisiana, Nevada, and California.
However, more states will likely require certification in the future, and even if your state doesn’t require certification, becoming a certified phlebotomist gives you a competitive edge. Employers are more likely to hire certified phlebotomists with formal training over an applicant with no formal phlebotomy education.
Becoming certified may also increase your chances of earning a higher salary, as employers will value your educational background.
Are Phlebotomy Certification Programs Worth It?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicated that phlebotomy as a career is poised to grow 17 percent from 2019 to 2029, which the BLS says is “much faster than the average for all occupations.” So, if you’ve been considering a career in phlebotomy, now is a great time to start training and earn your certification.
What Tests or Licenses Do Phlebotomy Certification Programs Prepare You For?
A phlebotomy certification program prepares you to sit for a national board-certifying exam for phlebotomy. Generally, passing a national phlebotomy exam earns you the title of certified phlebotomy technician or licensed phlebotomy technician.
We compiled this review of phlebotomy certification courses by thoroughly researching and vetting educational institutions based on factors such as structure, size, background, student support, accreditation, admission requirements, and tuition costs. Specific to phlebotomy, we reviewed program length, depth of coverage, faculty and staff profiles, student success rate, and more.
We also looked to industry-specific and occupation analysis sites including the National Phlebotomy Association, the National Healthcareer Association, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the Institute of Medical and Business Careers.
Finally, we interacted with customer support from individual certification agencies and educational institutions to understand what the admissions and certification processes are like for students.
All of our choices offer affordable and robust curriculums from accredited schools, extras such as job placement, and hands-on training in both in-person and online formats.