How to Get a Bloodborne Pathogens Certificate

How to get a bloodborne pathogens certificate

You may have come across the terms ‘bloodborne pathogens certificate’, ‘bloodborne pathogens training, ‘bloodborne pathogen certification’, ‘OSHA bloodborne training’ and numerous other variations and mixtures of these terms.

You just need the certification for a new job, but it can all feel a little confusing, so in this article we cut through the noise and outline, in simple terms, what bloodborne pathogens certification is, who needs it, and how to get a bloodborne pathogen certificate.

What is Bloodborne Pathogens Certification?

Let’s put it in the simplest terms first.

Bloodborne Pathogens Certification is nothing more nor less than a certificate documenting that an individual has undertaken the annual training mandated in the OSHA bloodborne pathogens standard within the last 12 months.

The OSHA BBP standard stipulates the minimum requirements for training that must be undertaken by any employee or contractor who may be at risk of occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens.

The list of industries to which this applies is long, and includes manufacturing, food handling, general industry and many more. Ultimately it is the employers responsibility to ensure they offer training based on exposure risk determination.

Failure to offer this training can result in hefty fines from OSHA.

Are there different types of Bloodborne Pathogen Certification?


There are three different types of training and certification:

  1. Bloodborne pathogen training for General Industry: This covers the basics and is the course that most people will take.
  2. Bloodborne pathogen training for Healthcare: Workers in healthcare facilities and adjacent industries need additional modules that cover, for example, the safe use of blood glucose monitoring equipment.
  3. Tattoo and Body Artists: Tattooists, piercers, permanent cosmetic artists and others will also cover additional modules specific to their industry. There is no federal standard for bloodborne pathogens certification for tattoo artists, each state is free to specify the content they require covered. In practice, the majority of states accept most certificates, the exception being counties like Florida which have quite complex specific requirements. For details, check the how to get a tattoo license article.

How do I get a Bloodborne Pathogen certificate?

1. Find a BBP Trainer: Firstly you need to choose a training provider. There are numerous organizations both online and offline that offer Bloodborne Pathogens training courses. Some of them include:

  • Red Cross: They offer an online Bloodborne Pathogens course that meets OSHA’s Bloodborne Pathogens Standard.
  • American BLS: They offer a ‘free’ online Bloodborne Pathogens course but note that the certification (which you will need) is NOT free..
  • Heartsaver: They offer a full classroom course, a blended learning course (Heartsaver Bloodborne Pathogens + a hands-on skills session training), or additional course materials.
  • Bloodborne Certification: We have been providing modern, compliant BBP training you can take on any device for over five years. Try the demo module.

2. Complete the Course: Secondly, you will need to complete the appropriate course. The course will cover OSHA mandated topics such as how bloodborne pathogens are spread, how to prevent exposure incidents by following work practice controls, use of correct EPA approved cleaning and disinfecting agents, recognizing, reporting and following up on employee exposures to infectious materials.

3. Pass the Quiz: After completing the entire course, or at the end of each module, you will typically need to pass a quiz to demonstrate your comprehension of the training material.

4. Get Certified: Once you pass the course, you are eligible to get your Bloodborne Pathogens Certification. The certification is valid for 1 year.

Remember to choose a course that is appropriate for your specific needs and meets any regulatory requirements in your area.

How long does Bloodborne Pathogen training take?

The duration of a Bloodborne Pathogens course can vary depending on the provider and the format of the course. 

Generally speaking, the standard bloodborne pathogen certification course usually takes around one hour to complete.

The healthcare professional version is usually around an hour and thirty minutes.

Tattoo specific BBP training usually takes longer, around two to three hours but this is very dependent on the provider and if the course addresses any particular state specific requirements.

As a general observation, you will see many disreputable providers online offering ‘BBP Certification in 20 Minutes!’. Put simply, this is just not enough time to cover the mandated OSHA requirements – you may get a certificate at the end, but likely you will have learned nothing that could actually assist you in protecting yourself and others from the dangers of bloodborne pathogens.

Also note that these are just estimates and the actual time may vary depending on your pace of learning and the depth of the course content. It’s always best to check with the specific provider for the most accurate information.

Classroom Based VS Online BBP Training

Online and classroom courses each have their own advantages and can cater to different learning styles and needs. Here are some differences between the two:

Online Courses:

  • Flexibility: Online courses offer flexibility as you can learn at your own pace and schedule. You can access the course material anytime and anywhere as long as you have an internet connection.
  • Self-Paced Learning: Online courses are typically self-paced, which means you can take as much time as you need to understand the material.
  • Convenience: There’s no need to travel, which can save time and money. You can learn from the comfort of your own home or any other location of your choice.
  • Availability: Online courses are usually available 24/7, allowing you to learn whenever it suits you best.
Online Bloodborne Pathogen Training
Online Bloodborne Pathogen Training

Classroom Courses:

  • Face-to-Face Interaction: Classroom courses provide direct interaction with the instructor and peers. This can lead to lively discussions and the ability to ask questions and get immediate feedback.
  • Structured Learning: Classroom courses follow a set schedule and curriculum, which can provide a more structured learning environment.
  • Hands-On Training: Some courses may require practical or hands-on training, which can be more effectively conducted in a classroom setting.
  • Networking Opportunities: Classroom courses provide opportunities to meet and network with people who share similar interests.

It’s important to choose the type of course that best fits your learning style, needs, and schedule. Some people may prefer the structure and interaction of a classroom course, while others may prefer the flexibility and convenience of an online course. Some courses may also offer a blended learning approach, combining elements of both online and classroom learning.

Do I need Bloodborne Pathogens Certification?

The only way to know if your employer requires a Bloodborne Pathogens certification is to ask them directly. You can reach out to your supervisor, manager, or human resources department and inquire about the company’s policy on this matter.

In many industries, especially those involving healthcare or direct contact with bodily fluids, Bloodborne Pathogens certification is often a requirement. This includes professions such as healthcare workers, first responders, tattoo artists, and cleaning personnel in certain industries.

However, requirements can vary greatly depending on the specific job role, industry, and even regional regulations. 

So, it’s always best to check with your employer or potential employer to understand their specific requirements. Remember, bloodborne pathogen safety training not only protects you, but it also creates a safer work environment for everyone.

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