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Survey Says: Value of certification

by Dennis Ernst • September 01, 2017

Lady listening

Last month we asked our readers and visitors to our web site about phlebotomy certification and if certified phlebotomists are paid more than their non-certified counterparts. If it sounds like a familiar survey to you, we've been asking these questions periodically over the years to see if there's a trend in either direction. 

Does your employer require phlebotomists to be certified?

States that require phlebotomists to be certified include California, Louisiana, Washington and Nevada. In 2008, 23 percent of those who responded in non-certification states said their employer requires certification even though the law does not. In 2013, 26 percent responded the same way. Today it's up to 29 percent, signifying a gradual but steady climb toward a more certified workforce. 

Of those participating in the survey who were certified, most were certified by ASCP. Here's the breakdown:

  • American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)--51.3%
  • National Healthcareer Association (NHA)--14.1%
  • National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT)---6.4%
  • National Phlebotomy Association (NPA)---4%
  • American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians (ASPT)---4%
  • American Medical Technologists (AMT)---2.6%
  • New Zealand Institute of Med Lab Science (NZIMLS)---2.5%
  • Australia---2.5%
  • Other---11%

Here are some comments:

  • But [my facility]thought it was okay to give CNA's a crash course, less than 8 hours, then get rid of the 2nd shift phlebs and have the CNA's draw blood. We are so against this terrible patient care practice and poor specimen quality and repeated recollects.
  • I work for a large health system. Only the facility I work in requires certification for phlebotomists. My small facility was bought out by a larger one but we have kept the certification requirement.
  • Only if you want to become a Phleb II.
  • It isn't a requirement however, my goal was to get everyone certified. So now they are. Replacements can be hired as non-certified and get certified later.
  • Because of staffing shortages, they will hire non-certified phlebotomist, right out of school.
  • Unless you are climbing our career ladder then you have to have it to become a Phlebotomy III.
  • In NZ certification or working towards same is being introduced over the next few years
  • Our department is so short staff that they are hiring people without out skills.
  • I wish they would.
  • I am not certified but have been a phlebotomist for 44 years. I have been grandfathered in.

Are you paid extra if you're certified?

In 2008, 38% of those who responded said that their employers pay certified phlebotomists more than non-certified phlebotomists. In 2013, the rate ticked down to 36%. This year, it's down to 24 percent. However, 37% admitted they didn't know.


Do you feel certified phlebotomists are more skilled and act more professional than non-certified phlebotomists?

This is where it gets interesting, but not entirely unpredictable. Of the certified phlebotomists responding, 55% said certified phlebotomists are more skilled than non-certified phlebotomists, while 52% said they also acted more professional. Among non-certified phlebotomists, the percentages were 25 and 22 respectively. What we found most surprising is that only slightly more than half of the certified respondents thought their certified colleagues were more professional and skilled than those without certification. We expected higher self-assessment scores.

Some comments:

  • Some are in the field because quick study and not necessarily have a heart for it.
  • Non-certified would be better with finding veins. But handling complications and performing right procedure are not always accurate.
  • I was certified. Let it lapse for years. A new company took over our hospital. And I was told I would make less because I was no longer certified. I went and took the test again. And passed.
  • I think that there are a lot of phlebotomists out there that have been doing this for a long time and are very good, but not certified. And there are a lot of phlebotomists out there that are certified and are not very skilled.
  • Only phlebotomists certified by a national agency, not the fly by night weekend course. They get the certificate and assume they are certified.
  • Certification does not prove that a Phlebotomist has the skill(s) required to perform the job.
  • I feel some people are good and have not had time or money to sit for the test or class. The employer should step up to help staff with testing.
  • [Being certified] makes me feel like this is my profession, not a fly-by-night job.
  • Those that are certified have more knowledge about what we are doing, why we are doing it, and what can happen as a result, good or bad. The ability to find and successfully access a vein does NOT get better with certification.
  • Quality of training and experience count.
  • The skill level of a phlebotomists depends on how they have been trained and how much time and effort they have put in to growing their skill and knowledge to a higher level.
  • I think [certified phlebotomists] show more commitment.
  • Having a heart for it makes the difference.
  • This is a trade. Honing skills takes years. It is an art.
  • I feel that a certified phlebotomist has more pride in what they are doing than a non-certified phlebotomist.
  • Some are [more skilled] and some are not. Too many of them are young kids getting certified in trade schools right out of high school and just do not have the maturity.
  • Certification cannot determine professionalism.
  • Those that are certified have taken the time to learn as much as possible about phlebotomy, which, to me, shows they care more. They are also better prepared to answer patient questions.
  • Professionalism is something that needs to be modeled and learned. Certification is simply proving that you have skills to perform the job.
  • Professionalism comes with the desire to know more; always remembering why we are in the field. Phlebotomy is not for everyone, and sometimes certification makes no difference.
  • People skills and professionalism are good for a phlebotomist to have regardless of certification or not.
  • Certification doesn't mean you are good at it.
  • Some staff I have worked with that do not have the certification are very skilled, and absorb all that I tell them and become extremely knowlegable and skilled. Then I have some staff that have been certified, and reminders need to be given. In general, being certified gives them a good starting base and an advantage over those with no certification. The final result is somewhat dependent upon the initiative of the employee however.

This month we're asking our readers and visitors to our web site what products they wish were available to help them perform phlebotomy procedures. We'll start you off with some ideas, then let you do the brainstorming.

Take the survey.


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