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How to Become a Phlebotomist in California

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In California, anyone other than a physician, nurse, clinical lab scientist or other licensed medical professionals must be certified to work as a phlebotomist. A phlebotomist is a person trained to draw blood, and if you have an interest in joining the medical field and are not squeamish about blood, getting certified as a phlebotomist provides a career option. You must obtain the necessary training and certification to seek employment as a phlebotomist in California.

Apply to a state-approved school. To find a California-approved school, go to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) website and type “Phlebotomy Schools” in the search box located in the upper right corner of the screen. Click on the "Phlebotomy Training Schools" link to obtain contact information for schools and programs in your county. Contact the school, and schedule an appointment with a counselor to discuss the school program and to provide an application. Although the application requirements vary depending on the school, all require a copy of your high school diploma.

Complete the phlebotomy training program. If you have no experience as a phlebotomist, you must complete 20 hours of basic class instruction, 20 hours of advanced class instruction, 40 hours of practical training in a clinic setting, 50 successful venipunctures and 10 successful skin punctures on patients. When the requirements are satisfied, you will receive a certificate of completion.

Pass the written phlebotomy exam. Apply to take the exam through a California-approved certification organization. Six certification organizations are approved both nationally and by California: American Certification Agency (ACA), American Medical Technologist (AMT), American Society of Clinical Pathologists (ASCP), National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT), National Credentialing Agency for Clinical Laboratory Personnel (NCA), and the National Healthcareer Association (NHA). Contact one of these organizations for testing information. The California Department of Public Health offers a PDF form that includes contact information on each organization. When you pass the written examination you receive a certificate of completion.

Apply for your phlebotomy license. On the Laboratory Field Services Personnel Licensing and Certification page of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) website, click on the Phlebotomy link. Create an account, complete the application and pay the application fee online using a credit card. Once you have completed the online application print out the attestation page, which will attest to the accuracy of the submitted information. Submit copies of your certificates from both the training program and the exam, the attestation page, and two passport-quality photos to: Attn: Phlebotomy Program CDPH - Laboratory Field Services 850 Marina Bay Parkway, Bldg. P, 1st Floor Richmond, CA 94804-6403

Obtain your certificate. It may take up to 90 days to receive a certificate of approval from the California State Department of Public Health Laboratory Field Services. When you obtain the certificate, you are legally eligible to begin work as a phlebotomist.

Tip

Phlebotomy certification must be renewed every two years, and six hours of continuing education.during that two-year period is required for renewal.

About the Author

Mai Bryant is a Northern California writer who specializes in writing about health-related topics, fashion and relationships. She began writing online in 2005 but has freelanced privately for more than 10 years. Bryant's eclectic professional background as a medical technician, a licensed cosmetologist, copywriter and event planner allows her to write with authority on numerous topics.

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