Blood bank technology refers to the methods and protocols used to collect and prepare blood for medical procedures. Learn about career choices, related salary info, education options and licensing requirements for blood bank technologists here.
Blood bank technologists, also called immunohematology technologists, are specialized medical technologists who prepare blood for transfusions. This involves collecting and typing blood, assisting physicians in transfusion therapy and investigating abnormalities, like hemolytic anemias.
As a blood bank technologist, you could be employed in one of a variety of healthcare settings, including hospitals, blood centers and independent laboratories. Non-traditional work schedules can include holiday, night and weekend work; on-call and rotating shifts may also be required. While laboratory settings are usually clean and well lit, your might have to spend a lot of time on your feet. Although you'll come into contact with infectious specimens, you'll be trained to avoid any potential hazards.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment opportunities for medical and clinical laboratory technologists, including blood bank technologists, are expected to increase by 14% nationwide, or faster-than-average, from 2012 to 2022. As of May 2012, medical and clinical laboratory technologists in general earned a median annual salary of $57,580 (www.bls.gov).
With experience, you might advance to a blood bank supervisor position. Based upon information provided by Payscale.com, the median annual salary for a blood bank supervisor in March 2014 was $69,872 (www.payscale.com).
According to the BLS, a bachelor's degree in a relevant area is the minimum educational requirement for a medical technologist. Medical technology majors are offered at many universities and hospitals. A major in one of the life sciences may also be applicable to a career in blood bank technologies.
In addition to a bachelor's degree, you'll most likely need to complete a 1-year post-baccalaureate certificate program in blood bank technology. Master's degree programs are also available in blood bank technologies and generally take two years to complete. Admission requirements for a master's program may include a professional certification and blood bank experience.
If you're not ready for five or more years of education, you might consider becoming a blood bank technician. Medical technician jobs usually require a certificate or an associate degree, which can be earned in 1-2 years. A list of schools that offer blood bank technology certificate or associate degree programs can be obtained from the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs website (www.caahep.org).
Although employer and state requirements can vary, a professional certification or license may be needed to work in blood bank technologies. A variety of associations offer specialized medical technologist certifications. For example, the American Society for Clinical Pathology's Board of Certification offers both a technologist certification in blood banking and a specialist certification in blood banking.