Allied Health Professions/
Blood Bank Technology Specialist
Specialists in blood bank (SBBs) technology perform both routine and specialized tests in blood donor centers, transfusion services, reference laboratories and research facilities. Their duties include:
Although medical technologists and medical laboratory technicians also perform various blood tests, the blood bank technology specialist’s training enables him or her to perform specialized tests, such as those dealing with the study of blood and its immunities (immunohematology).
The American Association of Blood Banks (AABB) establishes standards for blood banks, transfusion services and cellular therapies, which promote the safety and quality of blood products used in hospitals and transfusion centers. SBBs use methodology that conforms to these internationally recognized standards.
Individuals certified as specialists in blood banking by the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) are knowledgeable in all aspects of blood banking; transfusion medicine; hematopoietic, cellular and regenerative gene therapies; tissue transplantation; and molecular testing methods.
Specialists in blood bank technology demonstrate a superior level of technical proficiency and problem-solving ability in such areas as:
Accordingly, supervision, management and/or teaching make up a considerable part of their responsibilities.
SBBs are experts on variety of subjects, including regulatory and quality systems, genetics, immunology, blood groups, collection and storage of blood and components, donor processing, immune mechanisms, component therapy, transfusion of the newborn, complications of transfusion, general administration, personnel administration, education and automated data processing.
SBBs are expected to be good at problem solving and attention to detail since small differences can be crucial to a diagnosis. Manual dexterity and normal color vision are highly desirable, and with the widespread use of automated laboratory equipment, computer skills are important.
SBBs serve in many roles within the transfusion medicine field such as regulatory experts, technical/procedural advisors, laboratory administrators, quality assessors and managers, educators for technical and scientific training in blood transfusion medicine and researchers in transfusion medicine. SBBs carry out all operations of the blood bank, from routine testing to the most advanced procedures. Most SBBs work as technical supervisors and laboratory managers and oversee reference laboratories. They may also be involved in research, teaching or consulting. Many SBBs become transfusion safety officers and manage patient blood management programs in intra- and post-operative blood salvage and transfusion monitoring and organizations such as anemia clinics.
Blood bank technology specialists are employed by blood donor centers, transfusion services, reference laboratories, organ and tissue transplantation laboratories and blood bank equipment suppliers.
Most work normal business hours, although night and weekend shifts are not uncommon.
About Health Care Careers
Note: The American Association of Blood Banks reviewed this career profile.
Save money and earn your bachelor's in health sciences or healthcare management more quickly with maximum credit transfer at Excelsior. Our low tuition makes it affordable for you to earn your degree from accredited college while you earn a living. Receive up to 32 credits for your health-related occupational license. Learn more about Excelsior College ...
To Do and Not to Do: Writing the College Essay
Part 2: How to Attend College Without Going into Too Much Debt
Making the Most of Your Shadowing Experiences
Part 3: Accreditation Matters
Applying for Financial Aid (Part II)
Why Diversity Matters in the Health Professions
Start Preparing for Your Health Care Career in High School
Healthcare disparities and heart disease
Healthcare Reform 101
Keep Past Mistakes from Limiting Your Future Health Care Career
Top 10 Reasons to Pursue a Health Career Now
To become a blood bank technology specialist, you must complete a bachelor’s degree with a major in biology, microbiology or another biological or physical science and certification as a medical technologist.
After college, enroll in an accredited, one-year specialized training program for certification or pursue a master’s degree in blood bank technology, also known as immunohematology, for 24 months.
Those programs include the study of:
SBBs must pass a certification exam given by the American Society of Clinical Pathologists and meet continuing education requirements. Some states require SBBs to be licensed.
Search for funding opportunities related to this career
Search for enrichment programs related to this career
Search for academic degree and certificate programs related to this career
Allied Health Professions
Last updated: April 29, 2016
©2012 American Dental Education Association