The National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT) offers the National Certified Phlebotomy Technician (NCPT) exam for phlebotomy technicians. The National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) accredits the exam, and the certification proves an individual’s skills and knowledge in phlebotomy. Once earned, the credential is valid for five years.
There are three routes to eligibility: a current student or a recent (within five years) graduate of a Phlebotomy Technician program at an NCCT authorized school, one year of verifiable experience as a Phlebotomy Technician within the past five years, and military experience or training as a Phlebotomy Technician within the past five years. Each route includes additional eligibility requirements that can be found at the NCCT website.
Four states require phlebotomists to be licensed and certified – California, Colorado, Louisiana, and Nevada. While the other states do not require licensure or certification, most require completion of a certified training program. It is your responsibility to ensure you meet your state’s requirements.
Current students, graduates within six months of graduation, and military members (active, veteran, or dependent of an active duty member) pay a $90.00 exam fee. Graduates testing after six months of graduation and candidates using their experience to meet eligibility pay a $135.00 exam fee.
To apply for the NCPT exam, create an account at the NCCT website. Once your account is created, submit your application, required documentation, and test fee, payable by debit or credit card, at least 14 days before your desired test date.
To complete your application, you need to know the test date and location. If the information is not provided by your program or military advisor, contact NCCT for a list of available test dates and locations. Once your application is complete and exam fee is paid, you have one year from the date of submission to schedule and take your exam.
Notification is sent by email when your application is approved. The email indicates your name, test date, and test time. Verify the information is correct and if anything is wrong or misspelled in your email, contact NCCT as directed in the email.
Test content and design
The NCPT contains 125 questions. Of the 125 questions, 25 are not scored. You will not know which questions are scored and which are not. The exam is available in paper form and by computer. Which test format you are given is dependent on your testing location and the resources available. You are given three hours to complete the exam.
The NCPT exam contains six content areas:
- Quality and Professional Issues. There are 20 scored items in this section.
- Infection Control and Safety. There are 21 scored questions in this section.
- Orders and Equipment Selection. This section contains 17 scored items.
- Patient ID and Site Preparation. You encounter 17 questions in this section.
- Collections. There are 36 questions in this content area.
- Problems and Correction. 14 questions evaluate your knowledge in this content area.
The majority of the questions on the exam are multiple-choice. Other question formats you may encounter include hotspot, drag and drop, and multiple-response.
Arrive on time for your appointment, and leave belongings at home or in your car. You need to present a valid, government-issued form of identification, and review the test center’s rules, as well as singing your agreement to abide by the directions given to you by the test proctor. If you are taking the paper version, bring two #2 pencils. Scratch paper is provided; notes, calculators, and cell phones are not permitted.
At your testing station, follow the directions of the test proctor, the written instructions on the test booklet (for the paper exam), and the prompts on the computer screen. Work quickly through the exam, indicating questions you would like to review. You are not penalized for incorrect responses, so try to answer every question, even if you have to guess.
Exam scoring and results
Your exam is scored by tallying up each correct answer, and each question is weighted by its determined importance in phlebotomy. Your raw score is converted to a weighted score, and 70% is required to pass. Your test results are available in your NCCA account. If you failed the exam, a detailed score report is made available. The report helps you identify the areas you should study more intently. You have to wait 30 days before retaking the exam.
How Can I Prepare for the NCPT Exam?
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!