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How Do I Become a Blood Bank Technology Specialist?

The Rhesus Factor set of blood types.
Two packs of O- blood.
A pouch of AB- blood.
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  • Written By: Dee S.
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 29 March 2014
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For people who want to become a blood bank technology specialist, it is important to first fully understand what their responsibilities entail. Typically, she performs tests, both routine and highly specialized, at blood donor centers, laboratories, transfusion centers, and research centers. Sometimes she must test for antigens, for antibodies, or for compatibility. Other times, she may have to investigate abnormalities, as seen with hemolytic anemia, for example. It is common for her to support medical doctors and their patients, particularly if the patient is undergoing transfusion therapy or an organ transplant.

As the name suggests, someone who wants to become a blood bank technology specialist must be able to collect and process blood. In addition, she may be responsible for figuring out the blood type of the patient and even performing molecular testing. It goes without saying that a large part of her duties revolve around supervising, managing, or teaching others who also want to become a blood bank technology specialist. There are standards that must be followed in the United States through the Standards for Blood Centers and Transfusion Service of the American Association of Blood Banks.

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With so many responsibilities and such detailed standards, people who want to become a blood bank technology specialist may wonder what the educational requirements are. Usually, the educational programs last about one year. In some cases, there are master’s degree programs that can take two years to complete. There is also clinical training associated with most accredited programs, giving those who want to become a blood bank technology specialist the opportunity to learn from a broad spectrum of hand-on experiences. For those persons from countries other than the United States, many programs will consider their educational background and experience and admit them on a case-by-case basis.

Before someone can become a blood bank technology specialist, she may want to take an exam and become certified by the Board of Registry in medical technology after she has completed the educational program in blood bank technology. However, for those individuals who want to become a blood bank technology specialist and who do not choose to take the exam to be certified by the Board of Registry, there is another path. First, they must have an accredited college or university baccalaureate degree. Second, they must graduate with a major in one of the biological sciences or one of the physical sciences. Third, they must have prior experience working at a blood bank.

Besides the educational and training portions, people who want to become blood bank technology specialists must possess several important skills. For example, they must be able to think critically, engage in active listening, troubleshoot, maintain complex equipment, and comprehend what they read. They must also be able to express themselves both orally and in writing, engage in deductive reasoning, and be sensitive to the needs of their patients.

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