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Can You Be a Phlebotomist with a Medical Assistant Certificate?

Many Californians wonder if you can be a phlebotomist with a medical assistant (MA) certificate; however, the answer is technically no—in California, you’ll also need a CPT-1 license. While you can draw blood without a CPT-1 license if you are being supervised by a physician, you’re not allowed to do so independently.

Why You Can’t Be a Phlebotomist with a Medical Assistant Certificate

A medical assistant is allowed to draw blood if they’re being supervised by a doctor. However, this type of medical assistant will likely only benefit a very small office with limited patient volume. A doctor’s time is limited; this is why the phlebotomy certification exists. Someone needs to be able to take the blood samples they need and prepare them for analysis. A medical assistant without a CPT-1 certification isn’t allowed to do that. 

The CPT-1, or Certified Phlebotomy Technician I, is a certification managed by the Laboratory Field Services branch of the California Department of Public Health, and you must go through approved training to obtain it. While it is possible to do some of this through on-the-job training, it’s something that takes a very long time. In California, if you have more than 1,040 hours of on-the-job phlebotomy experience in five years, you don’t have to complete as much classroom time to obtain your certification. However, getting to that 1,040-hour requirement is likely going to be difficult. 

It’s a bit more straightforward to obtain a CPT-1 with no on-the-job experience. Your program must include: 

  1. 40 hours of basic and advanced didactic (classroom) phlebotomy training
  2. 40 hours of phlebotomy practice in a clinical setting that includes the performance of at least 50 venipunctures, 10 skin punctures, and observation of arterial punctures.

Experience obtained as a medical assistant doing non-phlebotomy-related work does not count as work experience for obtaining your certification. If you’ve been acting as a medical assistant but don’t complete regular blood draws, to obtain your CPT-1, you are required to do the same coursework as someone with no experience. 

A more effective solution that makes you a better job candidate is to get your CPT-1 as you get your certified medical assistant credential.

The Benefits of Combining CPT-1 and MA Training 

Bay Area Medical Academy (BAMA) offers a 3-in-1 Medical Assisting with Phlebotomy Program specifically due to high demand for this skill set. While you do not have to be a phlebotomist to work as a medical assistant in California, some of the more prestigious employers will require this license.

A hospital setting is a good example. Most hospitals seeking medical assistants will want somebody with a phlebotomy certification because of the fast pace of the environment. With a limited number of physicians on staff who are focused on higher-priority tasks, those physicians are unable to supervise blood taking. Because of this, many hospitals will list a CPT-1 as a prerequisite—or at least a preferred qualification—for employment.

There are also benefits to learning both simultaneously. Phlebotomy will expose you to a lot of new terms, anatomy, and procedures, and there is a lot of overlap with what’s required to become a medical assistant.
While you don’t have to be certified to work as a medical assistant in California, the best employers will typically require certification approved by the Medical Board of California. The medical board sets these minimum standards for a medical assistant certification program:

  • 10 hours of training on injections and skin tests
  • 10 hours of training in venipuncture and skin puncture
  • 10 successful intramuscular injections 
  • 10 successful subcutaneous injections 
  • 10 successful intradermal injections 
  • 10 skin tests, or at least 10 venipuncture and 10 skin punctures
  • 10 hours of training in administering medicine by inhalation
  • Instruction and demonstration on:
    • Anatomy and physiology
    • Equipment
    • Techniques
    • Hazards and complications
    • Patient care
    • Emergency procedures
    • California law

The medical assistant and phlebotomy certifications are naturally complementary. Our combined 3-in-1 Medical Assisting with Phlebotomy Program makes it easier to learn both while doubling your employment prospects when your training is complete.

Choosing BAMA’s 3-in-1 Medical Assisting Program 

While you can’t be a phlebotomist with a medical assistant certificate alone, BAMA makes it easier by allowing you to obtain both credentials at the same time. Our three-in-one program also includes EKG certification so you can handle a wide range of tasks in just about any medical environment. This comprehensive education is what makes BAMA graduates top candidates with California healthcare employers.

Bay Area Medical Academy is the best choice if you need a comprehensive program that will allow you to become a phlebotomist as you work as a medical assistant. For more information, contact an admissions representative

Healthcare is one of the fastest-growing industries in the US, and you can be a part of it!

Our career-oriented program gives you hands-on, real-world training and ongoing support for your long-term goals.

For more information on BAMA's medical assisting and phlebotomy degree programs, contact us today!

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