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Using ShiftKey: What you need to know about the TB test

What is TB?

Tuberculosis (TB) might seem like an old-timey disease, but it’s not. According to the World Health Organization, 10.6 million people were infected in 2022. TB, a disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, can attack any organ system, and it’s lethal: In 2022, 1.3 million people died from it, making the global mortality rate 12.67%.

Although infection rates are low in the U.S., they’ve been on the rise since 2020 and increased by 16% in 2023. There is a vaccine, but since the risk of infection is low in the U.S., the CDC does not recommend it.

Why test for TB?

TB screening regulations vary by state, but the CDC recommends that healthcare professionals test for TB as part of a “TB Infection Control Plan.” As a healthcare professional, you have a higher risk of TB exposure. Since TB can be deadly, it’s important to get tested regularly to ensure patient and workplace safety.

Understanding the different TB test formats

To test for TB, you can take a skin or blood test. You can also have a chest X-ray, but healthcare practitioners will usually only order chest X-rays for those with positive skin or blood test results.

Skin tests

One-step skin tests involve two visits to a healthcare practitioner. During the first, the practitioner injects the test subject with tuberculin, a purified protein fraction from the bacterium that causes tuberculosis. During the second, the practitioner looks for a reaction around the injection site, which indicates a positive test result.

Two-step skin tests require a total of four visits to a healthcare practitioner. The process is the same as the one-step skin test, but the one-step test must be repeated one to three weeks after the first test has been completed.

Which TB skin test is right for you? Some states, such as Iowa and Missouri, and facilities require two-step tests. If you are unsure what test to take, then opting for the two-step test is a way to maximize your shift opportunities.

Blood tests

The FDA has approved two blood tests for TB: QuantiFERON®-TB Gold Plus (QFT-Plus) and T-SPOT®.TB (T-Spot). For a TB blood test, you’ll need to visit your healthcare practitioner, who will have your blood drawn and sent to a lab.

Chest X-ray

If a doctor recommends a chest X-ray, you’ll need to visit a radiology technologist who will send your X-ray to a radiologist. The radiologist will determine whether the test is positive or negative for TB.

Getting a TB test

To use the ShiftKey app, you’re required to upload documentation that you have a negative TB test during the verification process and maintain a valid test on your ShiftKey profile.

Your local health department, physician's office or urgent care clinic can advise you on where to get a TB test. (ShiftKey does not administer or schedule TB tests.)

Uploading your TB test results to your ShiftKey profile

You can upload your TB test results to your ShiftKey profile in three easy steps:

  1. Select the document type, and select “Choose File.”
  2. Select the file you want to upload, and select “Open.”
  3. Select “Add Documents” and repeat the process until you’ve uploaded all pages of the TB test.

(Acceptable document types are PDF, DOC and DOCX; acceptable image types are JPG, PNG, HEIC and HEIF.) 

TB skin test results

TB skin tests must have been taken within the past year and must contain your full name, the placement date, the read date and the result.

TB blood test results

TB blood tests must have been taken within the past year and must contain your full name, the collected date and the result.

Chest X-rays

X-rays must have been taken within the past five years, must contain your full name, and must state that you have tested negative for TB. Note: Do not upload a chest X-ray unless you have tested positive for TB and need to rule out further infection.

What to do if your TB test credential is marked “invalid”

Visit the ShiftKey app to determine why. The reason for rejection will be listed in the "Credentials" section of the app.

For some common reasons why TB tests are invalid, visit our FAQ.

How to keep your TB test up-to-date

You can easily keep your credentials up to date via the ShiftKey app, and that includes uploading your TB test results!

When it’s time to retake your TB test, the app will alert you. Skin and blood TB tests must be completed each year. Chest X-rays are valid for five years, but again, you will only be able to get a chest X-ray if you have tested positive for TB via a skin or blood test.

ShiftKey makes it simple for you to show facilities how qualified you are

In addition to managing your credentials, with the ShiftKey app, you can make changes as you gain new skills. If you have additional questions about your TB test credential or managing your credentials, visit our FAQ or contact support.


World Health Organization. (2023). Tuberculosis.

The Hill. (2023). US tuberculosis cases rise for third year in a row: CDC.

MedlinePlus. (2022). Tuberculosis Screening.

CDC. (Accessed 2024). Testing for Tuberculosis.

FDA. (Accessed 2024). APLISOL®.