Hematology technology is the study of blood procurement, processing and analysis. Learn about technologist careers, salary information, related education programs and licensing requirements.
Hematology technologists are specialized medical technologists who test and analyze blood specimens in hospitals and pathology labs. They also conduct research or process blood for emergency use or further study. Emergency aid agencies that deliver blood supplies in disaster relief also hire hematology technologists. Other potential employers include doctors' offices, blood banks, medical research facilities, humanitarian agencies and private industry. Hematology technicians process blood samples as well but, like medical technicians in general, perform less sophisticated procedures and generally work under the supervision of a technologist.
If you were a hematology technologist or technician, some of your work tasks would include blood typing, blood counts and coagulation tests. You might also check hemoglobin and plasma levels. The data you recorded would be used to diagnose and treat illnesses. To work in the hematology technology field, you'd need to know how to use microscopes, computers and sophisticated lab equipment and tools. You'd probably find flexible scheduling if you choose a career in this field. Many labs are open around the clock, seven days a week. You could work a day or night schedule or choose part-time or full-time employment.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment opportunities for medical and clinicial technologists and technicians in general are expected to increase by 22% between 2012 and 2022, which is faster than average (www.bls.gov); jobs for medical technicians are projected to grow 30%, and jobs for medical technologists are projected to grow 14%.
In addition, the BLS reported that medical technologists, including hematology technologists, earned median pay of $57,580 as of May 2012. For medical technicians, the median salary was $37,240 that same year. In a March 2014 report, Salary.com stated that hematology technologists who earned annual pay in the 10th-90th percentile range made $46,886-$67,222, with a median salary of $56,514.
Although some employers may hire you if you've got a relevant blend of education and on-the-job training, hematology technicians typically hold an associate's degree or a certificate, and a bachelor's degree is usually required for entry-level hematology technologist jobs. You could complete a bachelor's degree program in medical technologist education or life science with an emphasis on blood and blood products.
Courses typically cover topics like hemostasis, immunohematology, blood disorders and blood physiology. Practical training includes the analysis of blood and other medical specimens. Hematology technology students also learn about biological materials collection, statistics analysis, lab safety procedures, professional ethics and equipment maintenance. Some schools and hospitals offer master's degree programs in medical technology if you want to further your education.
You'll need a license or registration to work as a hematology technologist or technician in some states. The licensing requirements depend upon the individual states. In addition, hematology technologists and technicians can get certified through professional associations, including American Medical Technologists and the American Society for Clinical Pathology. Getting certified could boost your chances of getting hired because many employers favor job seekers who have certification.