The American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) Board of Certification’s Phlebotomy Technician (PBT) credential recognizes an individual’s qualifications, knowledge, and skills in phlebotomy. The ASCP Board of Certification is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Below, you’ll find answers to frequently asked questions regarding the ASCP.
Why Should I take the ASCP Exam?
Obtaining the PBT credential through the ASCP Board of Certification exemplifies your dedication to maintaining standards and proficiencies as a laboratory professional. The PBT credential can result in better job prospects, higher wages, and a career path within the medical profession.
Am I Eligible to Take the ASCP Exam?
There are seven routes for meeting eligibility requirements to sit for the PBT credential. All routes include having a high school diploma and clinical experience. Before you apply to sit for the exam, review the eligibility requirements, and gather the required documents.
What is on the ASCP?
The certification exam consists of 80 multiple-choice questions. The exam is delivered by computer, and you will have two hours to complete the exam.
Questions may be theoretical or procedural. Theoretical questions measure your ability to apply knowledge. Procedural questions measure your ability to perform tasks and follow protocols. All content areas include terminology, quality control, and regulatory applications. The PBT exam assesses your skills and knowledge in six content areas:
- Circulatory system
Questions in this content area consist of five to ten percent of the exam and cover the structure and function of the circulatory system and the composition and function of blood.
- Specimen collection
The majority of the examination pulls questions from this content area. 45 to 50 percent of the questions will test your knowledge in venipuncture, skin puncture, collection procedures, site selection, common tests, types and order of the draw, and complications and considerations.
- Specimen handling, transport, and processing
15 to 20 percent of the PBT examination assesses your skills and knowledge in accessioning, labeling, assessment of specimen quality, labeling, transportation and storage, equipment, and specimen type and suitability.
- Waived and point-of-care testing
Five to ten percent of this content area tests your knowledge of urinalysis, hemoglobin and hematocrit, coagulation, glucose, and kit tests.
- Non-blood specimens
This content area consists of five to ten percent of the total questions on the exam. Skills and knowledge assessed include physiology, patient preparation, patient collection, and processing and handling.
- Laboratory operations
Fifteen to twenty percent of questions on the exam come from the following topics: quality control, quality improvement, interpersonal relations, professional ethics, safety, infection control, coding and billing, and patient confidentiality.
How do I register for the ASCP?
Before you can register for the actual exam, you need to apply to the ASCP for permission. You will submit your supporting documentation and the $135.00 application fee. Your application is reviewed by an evaluator at ASCP. Notification of the success of your application is made via email. Once you receive an admission notification, you can register to take the exam.
You have three months from notice to register and take the examination. Testing appointments are made by contacting the Pearson Testing Center within the three-month window. Failure to register during the window will require you to re-register and pay the application fee again.
Testing centers are located nationwide.
What Should I Expect on Test Day?
Follow the instructions provided by the testing center for the test day schedule. Arrive with enough time to find parking and complete the pre-test paperwork. Leave personal items at home as they are not allowed in the testing center, and everything you need for the exam is provided.
At the conclusion of your exam, the computer will tell you whether or not you passed. Within four business days of taking the exam, your official results are emailed to you. If you did not pass, you must wait for the official results before you can schedule a re-take. You may take the exam five times under one route of eligibility.
How is the test scored?
The certification exam consists of 80 multiple-choice questions using a computer-adaptive testing format. “Computer-adaptive” means that with each question you answer correctly, the computer selects your next question with a slightly higher difficulty level. If you answer a question incorrectly, the next question will be slightly less difficult; the more difficult the question, the more weight that question is assigned. The maximum weighted score you can receive is 999, with 400 required to pass.
How Should I prepare?
That’s a great question. We’ve broken down the answer into three parts.
- Do yourself a favor and study. Do not walk in unprepared. We have recommended prep materials below, but that only helps if you actually try. Plus, studying is actually proven to be the best antidote to test anxiety.
- Take care of yourself. Make sure you’re eating well, exercising, and sleeping. All of these things are scientifically linked to brain performance. If you take care of your body, you’ll be helping your grades.
- Get a study guide or set of flashcards. Some people study better a certain way. Find your study strengths and make the most of them. We’ve tried to make it easy for you by tracking down the best study guide and flashcard set for your exam. Below you’ll see links to both!