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Basic Career Description
A blood bank technology-specialist works under the guidelines of the American Association of Blood Banks to ensure a high level of safety and quality for patients who have donated blood to save lives. A blood specialist is vital to provide safe blood to patients who require blood for medical/surgical reasons such as emergency transfusions.
A typical duty includes checking blood donors for potential medical problems. For example, major safety risks include hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Some other duties are testing and identifying blood group antigens and compatibility along with drawing, separating, and typing donated blood into proper components such as plasma. Another duty includes labeling blood products properly before storing them safely.
Occasionally, a blood specialist may support a physician during transfusion therapy to make sure adequate blood is available during the procedure.
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Educational and Employment Options
After completing a four-year college degree in a biological or physical science like chemistry, biochemistry, or biology, a candidate may enroll in a specialized program. A typical educational program to become a blood bank technology-specialist is 12 months with coursework including testing blood for viral diseases, learning serological techniques, and identifying unsuitable blood donors. A blood specialist student will learn why some blood donor patients experience adverse reactions.
Certification by the Board of Registry combined with a baccalaureate degree is a standard work requirement for most employers.
Employment options include working in transfusion centers, hospital blood banks, and community blood banks. A candidate searching for a position offering work and life balance is ideal for this position. Hospitals and many clinics are open for 24 hours daily so a blood specialist can apply for a weekend or night shift.
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Salary and Future Growth
Salaries for blood bank technology specialists can start at $50,000 based on location, experience and education. One may advance into a supervisory position that may include blood bank automation and earn over $75,000 yearly. This advancement is based on additional educational coursework/certification.
Future growth for may include obtaining a teaching position at a college/university for blood bank courses or performing research. Additionally, blood bank automation has been implemented to address workforce shortages at some transfusion centers, hospitals, and blood banks.
A blood bank technology specialist can be a rewarding alternative to typical jobs found in the medical field.