Specialist in Blood Bank Technology/Transfusion Medicine

Occupational description
Specialists in blood bank (SBB) technology perform both routine and specialized tests in blood donor centers, transfusion services, reference laboratories and research facilities.SBB's use methodology that conforms to the Standards for Blood Centers and Transfusion Services of the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB).

Job description
Specialists in blood bank technology demonstrate a superior level of technical proficiency and problem-solving ability in such areas as (1) testing for blood group antigens, compatibility, and antibody identification; (2) investigating abnormalities such as hemolytic diseases of the newborn, hemolytic anemias, and adverse reactions to transfusion; (3) supporting physicians in transfusion therapy for patients with coagulopathies (diseases affecting blood clotting), for example, or candidates for organ and cellular transplantation/therapy; and (4) performing blood collection and processing, including selecting donors,collecting blood, typing blood, molecular testing and performing viral marker testing to ensure the safety of the patient. Accordingly, supervision, management, and/or teaching make up a considerable part of the responsibilities of the specialist in blood bank technology educational program.

Employment characteristics
Specialists in blood bank technology work in many types of facilities, including community blood centers, private hospital blood banks, university-affiliated blood banks, transfusion services, and independent laboratories; they also may be part of a university faculty. Specialists may have some weekend and night duty, including emergency calls. Qualified specialists may advance to supervisory or administrative positions or move into teaching or research activities. The criteria for advancement in this field are experience, technical expertise, and completion of advanced education courses.

Educational programs
Length. Most of the educational programs are approximately 12 months. Some programs offer a master’s degree and are approximately 24 months.

Prerequisites. Applicants must be certified in medical technology by the Board of Registry and possess a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university. If applicants are not certified in medical technology by the Board of Registry, they must possess both a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university with a major in any of the biological or physical sciences and have work experience in a blood bank.

Curriculum. Each specific educational program defines its own criteria for measurement of student achievement, and the sequence of instruction is at the discretion of the medical director and the program director and/or educational coordinator of the program. The clinical material available in the educational program provides the student with a full range of experiences. The educational design and environment are conducive to the development of competence in all technical areas of the modern blood bank and transfusion services. The didactic experience covers all theoretical concepts of blood bank immunohematology and transfusion medicine.

Specialist in Blood Bank Technology

American Society for Clinical Pathology Board of Certification
33 West Monroe Street, Suite 1600
Chicago, IL 60603-5617
Phone:  (312) 541-4999 or (800) 267-2727
Fax:  (312) 541-4845

American Association of Blood Banks
8101 Glenbrook Rd
Bethesda, MD 20814-2749