How Can I Become an IV Technician?
Explore the career requirements for IV technicians. Get the facts about job duties, education requirements, salary and the employment outlook to determine if this is the right field for you.
What Is an IV Technician?
IV technicians ensure that medications are safely prepared and distributed in the correct quantities. They may work in a pharmacy, hospital, or nursing home under the direction of a doctor or pharmacist. Duties vary depending on the setting; however, IV technicians usually perform tasks including measuring and administering IV solutions to patients, keeping track of inventory, and entering patient information into a computer system. The following chart gives you an overview of what you need to know about entering this field.
|Degree Required||High school diploma (or equivalent)|
|Key Responsibilities|| Prepare medication for patients |
Organize and track medication stock
Assist other medical professionals such as doctors and pharmacists
|Training Required||On-the-job training|
|Job Outlook (2018-2028)||7% (for all pharmacy technicians)*|
|Median Salary (2018)||$32,700 (for all pharmacy technicians)*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
What Training Do I Need to Become an IV Technician?
There are a few options available if you'd like to become an IV technician. For example, if you're interested in working in a pharmacy setting, you'll first need to train as a pharmacy technician. You can find pharmacy technician programs with specific education in IV mixing and management through community colleges, vocational schools, hospitals and the military. These programs teach you IV delivery methods, sterilization practices, proper IV flow and safe handling of intravenous medications.
If you already have a healthcare or emergency medical background, you can take credited or non-credit courses for IV therapy training. Some schools allow you to enroll with only a high school diploma, though many are designed to provide additional skills training for practicing healthcare professionals and emergency medical technicians (EMTs). These programs cover topics in intravenous therapy, aseptic technique, patient assessment and dosage calculation.
Will I Need Certification or Licensure?
Depending on your vocation, you could need some form of licensure. If you're a registered nurse (RN) or licensed practical nurse (LPN), you will need to obtain your state nursing license. As an LPN, you might need to complete a state-approved training course in IV medications and hold a state-issued certification. As an EMT, you'll also need licensure through your state to perform emergency medical service. To administer medications intravenously, you could need to complete additional training, including clinical and field internships.
You usually don't need licensing as a pharmacy technician, though you'll need to work under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist. However, you can obtain voluntary professional certification, such as the National Pharmacy Technician Association's IV certification offered through its sterile product certification course. The course is divided into fieldwork and at-home study using textbooks and online materials and covers how to handle intravenous medications and hazardous drugs. You'll study topics such as drug therapy delivery systems, principles of sterility, pharmacy mathematics and chemotherapeutic agents. To earn the certification, you'd take an exam covering the mathematic skills needed to make pharmacy calculations and the techniques used to prepare sterile products (www.pharmacytechnician.org).
What Duties Would I Have?
As an IV technician, you could prepare sterile solutions and deliver medications in a hospital, ambulance, nursing home or an assisted-living facility. You'd generally work alongside and under the direction of other medical professionals, such as doctors or pharmacists. As an EMT, you'll need to know which IV solutions to apply for specific illnesses or injuries. If you become a pharmacy technician, chemistry and mathematics will be very important to ensure that you properly mix the correct medications and fluids. In any situation, you'll perform intravenous medication duties in addition to other tasks applicable to your occupation.
What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?
Students interested in becoming IV technicians may wish to also consider a few related careers in the healthcare field. Dental assistants care for patients, keep records, and schedule appointments. The education required for dental assistants varies by state; they may be required to attend an accredited program or simply to have graduated high school and received on-the-job training.
Medical assistants work in a variety of healthcare settings, assisting with administrative and clinical tasks. They also only require either a certificate or a high school degree and on-the-job training. Medical records and health information technician is a healthcare position that doesn't involve direct patient care; these technicians need a certificate or associate's degree plus certification, and they do medical coding and maintain patient records.