Phlebotomy/Specimen Processing, Certificate

Phlebotomy/Specimen Processing, Certificate

Gainful Employment Disclosure

What is the difference between a phlebotomist and a laboratory specimen processor?

  • Both specialties draw blood from patients (phlebotomy) and request other body fluid samples from patients. Both also search and enter data into computer systems.  Phlebotomy includes venipuncture (drawing blood from veins) and capillary punctures (heel sticks and finger sticks).
  • Specimen Processors (also known as Lab Assistants) prepare and deliver specimens to the various areas of the laboratory. Specimen processors often obtain and test some samples from body systems. Processors often trouble shoot and correct specimen errors in addition to performing phlebotomy skills.
  • Completing both programs is beneficial for those wishing to work in the laboratory as a phlebotomist and/or lab assistant. 
    • For students pursuing another Health Professions Program (such as Medical Assisting, Radiology or Nursing) it is helpful to complete the Phlebotomy Only Certificate while completing pre-program course work.  Although students learn to perform phlebotomy as part of these programs, completing the phlebotomy certificate provides a more comprehensive education.  In addition, students with a phlebotomy certificate are able to waive the 80 hours of required phlebotomy time during the Medical Assisting Practicum (MAS120).  Note:  students are assigned to clinical sites for the second half of the semester for phlebotomy with a Monday through Friday schedule.  Only online or evening classes can be scheduled during the same semester as Phlebotomy/Specimen Processing. 

How many days do I have to attend class? Phlebotomy3

  • The first 8 weeks of semester consist of lectures and lab; they take place in the WCCC classroom on Mondays for Phlebotomy and Wednesdays for Specimen Processing.  Classes generally begin at 8am and end around 2pm with a break for lunch.  
  • For the second 8 weeks of semester, the student reports directly to their assigned clinical site.  The hours spent in practicum must be unpaid.  They are always scheduled during daylight hours Monday through Friday (average of 4 days per week).  Most sites schedule students from 7:30am to 4pm.  A few of sites require 6am to 2:30 pm shifts.

Students must complete 224 hours at a clinical site during the second 8 weeks of the semester.

How do I know what classes to take?

  • Neither program has prerequisites.  Both programs have co-requisites of PDV101 (First Year Seminar) and ALH122 (Medical Terminology) which can be completed prior to beginning phlebotomy or during phlebotomy. 
  • The Phlebotomy Only program is NOT covered by Financial Aid.  Phlebotomy and Specimen Processing Certificate account for 18 credits; it is financial aid eligible. 
  • All classes required for the program must have at least a C grade. 
  • Class Scheduling
    • ALH122_Medical Terminology:  online or evening class required if completing during same semester as phlebotomy.  (3 credits)
    • PDV101_First Year Seminar:  This class provides an overview of college requirements and resouces.  It is required for all students at Westmoreland.  (1 credit)
    • PHB_101_01 Clinical Phlebotomy (4 credits)
    • PHB_105_13 Specimen Processing (4 credits)
    • PHB_110_01 Specimen Processing Practicum (4 credits) includes phlebotomy practicum
    • PHB_111_01 Phlebotomy Practicum (4 credits) for phlebotomy only certificate

Note: when completing both certificates, PHB101, PHB105 and PHB110 is required.  When completing phlebotomy only certificate, PHB101 and PHB111 is required. 

Do we practice on real people and do we have to volunteer?

  • The phlebotomy experience starts with practice arms. Once the skills are demonstrated, then they are perfected in the classroom with each student being both the phlebotomist and the patient. Students are limited to receiving two phlebotomies each lab session per student. All students participate in this practice.

How do I know what health records are needed?

  • After your application, you will be notified if you are accepted into the program, you will receive notice of the orientation meeting. The program director will give you the web site and explain the requirements. Those forms will clearly indicate the deadline for submission of that information. You will have drug tests, FBI fingerprint screening, Act 33/34 clearance, physical exam, any immunizations that need to be updated (Tdap, HBV, PPD) CPR and liability insurance before starting the program. All results must be received before the start of the program to assure your safety.  The program has very specific requirements that must be followed for the clearances.  Do not obtain the clearances until directed to avoid extra costs.
  • You must have started your HBV injection series before you start invasive skills and working with bloodborne pathogens.
  • The completion of health records, immunizations, purchase of uniforms, and textbooks is a large amount of money at the start of the program. Be sure to consider day care and transportation arrangements also.

Do I need a uniform?

  • Yes, during your orientation you will receive a dress code and uniform requirements. There are rigid guidelines for professional appearance and attendance.  You wear Westmoreland College scrubs during all classes (lectures and labs) and practicum hours. 
  • All Health Professions students at WCCC wear color specific (according to program of study), embroidered scrubs obtained through the WCCC Bookstore.  The Phlebomy/Specimen Processing scrub color is burgundy. 

What if I cannot attend class during the scheduled days?

  • This is a single semester program and daily attendance is mandatory. Attendance, appearance, attitude, and class participation are part of the grading scale. You will lose those points if you are not in class. If you have a written excuse and it is accepted, you will receive partial credit.

Can I take the Specimen Processing program only?

  • Students who have passed Phlebotomy programs or have been trained on the job may take the Phlebotomy final exams (written and physical) to “test out” of PHB 101.

Do I have to make arrangements for my own clinical practicum sites?

  • Westmoreland College will place you in an approved site that has a contract with the college. Your progress is monitored by the program director.
  • You must provide your own transportation to your assigned site.    

Is it necessary to take a certification exam?

This program is a certificate level program. Although students graduate with a certificate in phlebotomy, it is not the same as “being certified”.  Certification (also known as registration by some agencies) requires passing a national examination.  Pennsylvania does not require phlebotomists to be certified at this time; however, you will be eligible to take a national phlebotomy certification exam for the RPT, Registered Phlebotomy Technician through American Medical Technologists.  Visit for details about the RPT certification. 

Job Outlook –Bureau of Labor Statistics

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, phlebotomists are part of the medical technician industry, which is currently on the rise. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects employment of phlebotomists is projected to grow 27 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations. Hospitals, diagnostic laboratories, blood donor centers, and other locations will need phlebotomists to perform blood work.


Application deadlines are May 1st for the Fall Semester and  October 1st for the Spring Semester. Program enrollment is selective and certain criteria must be met for admission. Complete admission and eligibility guidelines are available in the current Westmoreland catalog.


In addition to tuition, other fees may be associated with this program.  Costs will vary depending on insurance coverage, vaccines needed, etc.  This chart is an estimate:

  • Castle Branch package:  $134
  • Passport photos required for file:  $10
  • Second drug screen (need before practicum):  $79
  • Child Abuse Clearance:  $8
  • FBI Fingerprinting:  $28
  • CPR:  $20 to $85
  • Student Liability Insurance:  $40
  • Medical Examination, Immunizations and Bloodwork:  varies based on insurance coverage
  • Textbook:  $125
  • Scrubs, shoes:  varies based on how many sets purchased; scrubs average around $60 per full set (top, pants and warm up jacket); must students purchase at least 2 sets

More Information

Instructor and Director of Phlebotomy/Specimen Processing Programs:

Ms. Amy Voytek

145 Pavilion Lane,  Science Hall Suite #3212; Youngwood, PA 15697

Office:  724-925-4140