Blood Bank Technician: Career and Salary Facts

Find out about the types of jobs you could pursue as a blood bank technician. Read on to learn more about career options along with salary and licensure information. Schools offering Clinical Laboratory Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Blood Bank Technician?

A blood bank technician is a clinical laboratory technician who specializes in the collection and analysis of blood samples. Blood bank technicians work in medical laboratories, often in hospitals, where they screen potential donors and classify them by blood type. They also perform tests to ensure that the donated blood is safe, and check for healthy levels of certain molecules. In addition, they collect, store and prepare blood for transfusions.

See the table below for more information about blood bank technicians.

Degree RequiredAssociate's degree or post-graduate certificate at minimum
Education Field of StudyMedical Laboratory Technology
Key ResponsibilitiesScreen donors, collect and store blood for transfusions, determine donor's blood type, ensure that donated blood is safe
Licensure/CertificationLicensure may be required in some states; certification may be a prerequisite for licensure or otherwise preferred by employers
Job Growth (2014-2024)18% for medical and clinical laboratory technicians*
Mean Salary (2015) $41,420 for medical and clinical laboratory technicians*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Would I Do as a Blood Bank Technician?

You would collect and store blood for use in transfusions. You would screen potential donors for eligibility, collect blood using venipuncture techniques and label the blood for proper storage. You may also perform tests to determine blood type, ensure that the blood is safe and check for healthy levels of certain molecules. You would work in a medical laboratory with other medical lab personnel and interact with donors and patients as you collect and deliver blood. Because of the potentially hazardous nature of working with blood, you need to be aware of and follow safety protocol with excellent attention to detail. Blood bank technicians tend to performed more general, possibly automated tests under the supervision of a technologist or lab manager. Technologists may oversee labs and performed more complex tests that require more details and expertise.

What Education Do I Need?

You will need some training to learn the laboratory and safety procedures involved in working with blood. Because blood bank technicians are specialized medical laboratory technicians, you could enroll in a training program in medical laboratory technology where you would study lab techniques for working with blood, tissue and other bodily fluids. While a blood bank technologist career normally requires a bachelor's degree, blood bank technicians may be hired with an associate's degree or post-graduate certificate. The National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS) accredits 2-year associate's and 4-year bachelor's degree programs for medical lab technicians and technologists (www.naacls.org).

There are also some programs available specifically for those interested in working in phlebotomy, or the study of blood. These 1-year certificate programs would teach you blood collection and laboratory techniques in a combination of classroom and clinical settings.

How Could I Advance My Career?

Some states may require medical and clinical laboratory technicians and technologists to earn licensure; to become licensed, these techs typically need to first earn certification. Even in states where licensure and certification aren't required, employers often prefer to hire certified personnel. The American Society of Clinical Pathology (ASCP) offers credentials for medical laboratory personnel, including the Phlebotomy Technician, Medical Laboratory Technician and Donor Phlebotomy Technician designations. You can apply for certification after completing your training program and gaining some clinical experience (www.ascp.org).

If you want to further your career in blood bank technology, you could complete a blood bank specialist certificate program after you have earned a bachelor's degree. The Commission on Accreditation for Allied Health Education Programs accredits blood bank technology programs that can prepare you for Specialist Blood Banking certification from the ASCP.

What Salary Could I Earn?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported in May 2015 that medical and clinical laboratory technicians, a group that includes blood bank technicians, earned a mean annual wage of $41,420 (www.bls.gov). The BLS also reported that employment for lab technicians was projected to increase 18% in the decade from 2014-2024, so job prospects are excellent, particularly for those with professional credentials.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

If you want to work as a technician or technologist in a clinical laboratory, you could also consider specializing in a different area, such as histology, where you would focus primarily on the cutting and staining of blood samples, or microbiology, where you would run tests to identify and study bacteria and other microorganisms. Alternatively, you could consider a job as a chemical technician in a chemistry research lab. In this job, you would assist chemists by setting up and running basic experiments, with the goal of contributing to broader studies that advance knowledge in the field. You would also be responsible for maintaining and repairing lab equipment. Technicians, such as histotechnicians and chemical technicians, typically need a certificate or associate's degree, whereas technologists, such as microbiology technologists and histotechnologists, usually need a bachelor's.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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