Becoming a certified phlebotomist with the ASCP

Becoming a certified phlebotomist with the ASCP
March 14, 2013 Phlebotomy Training Group

ASCP Application Requirements

Download the ASCP Application from this link.

The phlebotomy technician classification offered by the ASCP is PBT. Qualifications to receive this title include:

  • completing particular education classes approved by the agency,
  • work experience or
  • holding other ASCP certifications.

Everything you need to know to become an ASCP certified phlebotomist...

To apply to sit for the ASCP certification exam, candidates are required to meet at least ONE of the sets of requirements listed below:

  • Obtain a GED or graduate from high school and complete a phlebotomy program that has been approved by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences or California’s Public Health department within the last five years;
  • Obtain a GED or graduate from high school and have completed a formal phlebotomy program within the United States. This program must require in the least 40 hours of classroom lecture combined with no less than 100 hours of clinical training at an accredited laboratory. Subjects studied in the classroom portion must include laboratory operations, specimen processing, circulatory system anatomy and function, and specimen collection. The candidate must have completed at least 100 successful blood collections;
  • Obtain a GED or graduate from high school and have completed an accredited related health program that also required phlebotomy training and clinical work in one of the accredited laboratories. Examples of these programs include licensed practical nurse and registered nurse. The candidate is required to perform no fewer than 100 successful skin punctures and venipunctures. A notarized copy of a current RN or LPN license or a completion certificate from one of the related health training programs must be presented;
  • Obtain a GED or graduate from high school and have no less than one year of work experience at an accredited laboratory within the past five years. This work experience must include skin punctures and venipunctures;
  • Already be certified as a Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT), Medical Laboratory Scientist (MLS) or Donor Phlebotomy Technician (DPT). Those candidates already holding a DPT certification must complete at least 100 non-donor blood collections within the past five years of applying for certification.

Once a candidate completes the ASCP’s detailed application, he/she is required to pay a $135 sitting fee to take the exam. This fee can be paid via a money order, online credit card payment or check (no post-dated checks will be accepted).

The fee must be paid at the same time the application is submitted. Individuals paying by credit card must complete their application online.

Those who are paying with a check or money order need to mail their applications and payments via regular mail to:

The Board of Certification

3335 Eagle Way

Chicago, IL 60678-1033

The ASCP will not accept registered mail, certified mail or applications received by any other mailing methods.


The ASCP uses computer adaptive testing for the majority of their certification exams.

This type of testing is referred to as CAT. When an individual taking the test answers one question correctly, the next question’s difficulty level will increase. The difficulty level continues to raise until the examinee answers a question incorrectly. When this happens, the next question will be slightly easier.

This testing method ensures that the test is tailored to the ability level of the examinee. Each question is calibrated for its level of difficulty. It is then assigned to a content area matching the subtest area of the content outline. The level of difficulty determines the value that is given to each question.

To achieve a passing score, the examinee must answer an adequate amount of the difficult questions.

The ASCP offers candidates a study guide that costs $85.

Candidates may choose to purchase online sample tests. These tests are accessible for 90 days. The PBT sample test costs $25 to access and can be purchased online.

Certification is valid for a total of three years at which time members must complete the required Certification Maintenance Program (CMP). This program uses a point system for their continuing education. A phlebotomist must have nine points to be eligible for recertification. The CMP application fee is $75. If this program is not completed, the member’s certification will expire.

ASCP Certification Exam Outline, What Examinees Need to Know

Phlebotomy Laboratory Operations Totals 12 Percent of the Examination

Quality Control Techniques

  • Equipment
  • Professional Ethics

Interpersonal Relations (e.g., Americans with Disabilities Act, age-specific communication)

Safety Regulations (e.g., OSHA, CDC & CLSI)

  • Personal
  • Patient
  • Equipment

Hospital/Laboratory Safety

  • Chemical
  • Fire
  • Infection Control
  • Disposal of Biohazardous Materials/Equipment
  • Protective Equipment
  • Hand Hygiene
  • Billing/Coding
  • HIPAA- Patient Confidentiality
  • Terminology

Non-Blood Specimens (e.g., Stool, Urine, Sputum, etc.) Totals 7 Percent of the Examination

  • Physiology
  • Preparing the Patient
  • Collection of Specimen
  • Handling & Processing the SpecimenTerminology
  • Quality Improvement

The Circulatory System Totals 5 Percent of the Examination

  • The Circulatory System’s Structure & Function
  • Veins
  • Capillaries
  • Arteries and Heart

The Composition & Function of Blood

  • Cellular Elements (WBC, RBC and Platelets)
  • Serum/Plasma
  • Terminology

Specimen Collection via Skin Puncture and Venipuncture Totals 55 Percent of the Examination

  • Proper Technique for Identifying a Patient
  • Assessing a Patient/Preparation
  • Selection of the Venipuncture or Skin Puncture Site
  • Phlebotomy Techniques (Skin Puncture and Venipuncture)
  • Common Problems Related to Phlebotomy
  • Common Tests Physicians Order
  • Medical Terminology
  • Knowledge of Phlebotomy Equipment / Tools

Point-of-Care Testing Totals 6 Percent of the Examination

  • Hematocrit & Hemoglobin
  • Urinalysis
  • Basic Chemistry (e.g., electrolytes and glucose)
  • Coagulation (e.g., PT)
  • Terminology Related to Tests

Processing & Handling Specimens Totals 15 Percent of the Examination

  • Types of Specimens/Suitability
  • Unusual Types of Specimens (e.g., trace metal elements)
  • Routine Specimens
  • Chain of Custody Specimens
  • Neonatal Screening
  • Recording
  • Labeling
  • Transport


  • Light
  • Temperature
  • Time

Equipment (e.g. centrifuge)


Terminology (Conventional units are used for reference ranges & results)

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