Titer Test - Frequently Asked Questions

Learn more about the titer test today.

Updated October 19, 2017 by

What Is A Titer Test?

There a lot of confusion as to what a titer test is. A titer test is not an injection, shot, or vaccination. Instead, a titer test is a blood test that measures the titer level. It is run in a laboratory. A titer test measures a level of specific antibodies to diseases in your blood.

What Is A Titer?

A "titer" or "titre" is a technical term that represents a measure of concentration. In reference to humans, the term titer is used to represent how much of a specific type of antibody is circulating in the blood at any given moment.

Okay, but what's an Antibody?

An antibody is a component of the immune system. Sometimes, it is known as an immunoglobulin. The immune system uses antibodies as the initial defenders against biological invaders such as bacteria and viruses. Specific antibodies create a lock-and-key fit with components (also called antigens) on the bacteria and viruses that they protect against.

How did I get antibodies in my blood?

There are a couple of ways to get antibody titers in your blood. The first way is through natural exposure to a disease. For example, if you had the chickenpox when you were younger, you might have antibody titers to chickenpox. In that case, your titer test result will generally show up as positive. The second way to get antibody titers is through vaccination. Vaccines are dead or weakened live forms of the disease that are designed to stimulate your immune system to act as if you actually had the disease. The immune system responds by producing antibody titers to protect you.

Who needs a titer test?

Titer tests are primarily needed by people, sometimes known as healthcare personnel ("HCP"), who will be working or studying in a healthcare setting. Additionally, people who are traveling and want to confirm immunity instead of getting vaccinated might get a titer test. Children whose parents don't want them to be unnecessarily vaccinated may also get a titer test.

Why would an HCP need a titer test?

HCPs working in healthcare settings are at risk for being exposed to patients and/or infectious substances that might infect the HCP. A titer test can help determine if an HCP is immune to a disease (in particular, vaccine-preventable diseases) prior to being put in possible at-risk settings.

What is considered a vaccine-preventable disease?

According to ACIP, HCPs are considered to be at a significant risk for acquiring or transmitting Hepatitis B, Influenza, Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Pertussis and Varicella.

What is the procedure for getting a titer test?

Titer tests are laboratory tests. First, you need to get an order from your doctor or medical provider to get your blood drawn. Then, you go to a laboratory and get your blood drawn. Once that is done, it generally takes up to a week to get your results.

Can I get a titer test near me?

Most standard medical labs can perform a titer test so it is likely that you can get a titer test near you.

How do I get my titer test results?

By law, the results of your titer test have to be sent to the medical provider who ordered your test. You should contact your medical provider directly.

How long does it take to get titer results back?

Once your blood is drawn, the results for the most common titer tests come back in 3-4 business days. Uncommon titers (e.g. Rabies, Tetanus, Polio) may take longer as they are often sent to a specialty lab.

What's the difference between Qualitative & Quantitative titer results?

Titer test results are reported as either qualitative or quantitative. "Qualitative" means that your titer results will be either Positive or Negative, without a numerical result. "Quantitative" means that your results will be reported as an actual number that represents your antibody titer concentration. Your number can be compared against the Reference Interval on your lab report to determine whether your titer level is thought to confer immunity.

How do you interpret a titer test lab report?

Here is a helpful YouTube video on interpreting a titer test lab report:

Why does my job or school need a titer test?

Titer tests are used as a measure of immunity to certain diseases. People who work in certain settings, such as hospitals or medical clinics, are at an increased risk for being exposed to certain diseases. As a result, many institutions want proof of a certain antibody level or vaccination for diseases such as Hepatitis B, Mumps, Measles, Rubella and Varicella prior to stepping into those settings.

Will my health insurance pay for my titer test?

It depends on the type of health insurance that you have. Some insurance plans will cover a titer test but many will not. Additionally, in order to use your health insurance, you will have to find a medical provider who accepts your health insurance and can order the titer test for you. In many cases, there will be additional lab fees and co-pays involved with getting tested

I don't have a doctor or insurance. How can I get a titer test?

A titer test can be expensive. At times, we have seen prices in excess of $500 for a basic titer test. For anyone who wants a simple, afforable way to order a titer test online, we would recommend checking out Accesa Lab testing.

I'm interested in reading more about the titer test. Do you have any recommendations?

Yes. We would recommend reading this report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: CDC Report.

Who determines if I am immune to a disease based on a titer test?

Immunization standards based on titer test levels are typically determined by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).

Does a titer test expire?

A titer test report will usually be considered "expired" after a certain period of time, especially if the titer test report is needed for work in a healthcare facility. The reason for this is that a titer test is really a snapshot in time of you antibody titer levels. If enough time goes by, most places that require a titer test will ask for a new one to make sure that the snapshot has not changed since the last titer test.

What is the pronunciation of titer?

The word "titer" in titer test sounds like the word "tighter" when spoken.


This information is subject to change. We provide this information as a service and do not warrant the accuracy of any of this information.