Blood Bank Technologist Job Profile

Blood bank technologists (BBTs) are the technicians who conduct blood tests and collect blood for blood banks.

The work environment

Blood bank technologists work in a clinical, community, academic or hospital environment.

The basic work includes:

  • Transfusions
  • Blood donation collections
  • Blood typing of samples taken by clinicians, physicians and specialists
  • Blood testing of patients for various conditions and preoperative requirements
  • Working with treatments for anemic patients
  • Dealing with adverse reactions to blood products
  • Antibody identification
  • Screening for viruses

This work includes all the basic elements of hematological technology. Blood bank technologists are directly involved in most major areas of medicine, including immunology and epidemiology, testing for dangerous contagious diseases. The work load can be very high, and this is also an area of medicine where testing must be done in a reasonable period of time.

One of the major demands on blood bank technologists is for the accuracy of their work. People's lives and peace of mind can depend on a positive or negative blood test result, and blood bank technologists try very hard to ensure their work is of a very high standard.

BBTs and SBBs (specialist blood bank technologists) also work as trainers, community instructors in blood bank functions and services, and at management level, as operations and administrative managers. At senior levels, the role of management also includes advisory roles to local state and Federal government agencies administering health services.

Wages: Dependent on experience, qualifications and specializations. Entry level $35,000 to $40,000. Specialists and experienced management level BBTs $70,000.

Hours: Clinic hours or shifts, depending on the nature of employment.

The career environment

The two primary streams for career advancement for BBTs are promotional through organizations and through qualifications. The qualifications based form of career advancement for BBTs is through the specialist area of the SBB, requiring a Bachelors degree and related training. From this point, a range of academic career paths can offer a very wide range of specializations. Having achieved a Masters degree blood bank technologies may specialize in various fields, rising in some cases to doctorate levels through studies in fields related to hematology.

Please note: This form of career progression is based on a sometimes particularly complex series of intermediate professional qualifications. Essentially a qualified SBB undertakes studies in a related discipline like chemistry, microbiology, immunohematology, or an appropriate area of medicine like clinical pathology, providing a mix of qualifications to attain doctorate level. It's strongly advised to do a thorough check of academic and professional requirements for each stage of qualifications in your chosen specialty.

At the advanced levels of hematological research, specialist blood bank technologists (SBBs) also play a major part in the work of research studies, which is often the catalyst for an a career track for those engaged in this field. Hematology is a very large field of critical medical research, and includes research into blood borne diseases like HIV AIDS, pandemic flu strains, and particularly virological research.

This work is of major global importance, and is often a primary mechanism in positive identification of the spread of dangerous diseases and mutations. Research involves advanced screening methods and in some cases whole new forms of testing.