How to Become an IV Technician: Education and Career Roadmap

Jul 31, 2018

Learn how to become an IV technician. Research the education and career requirements, certification, and experience required for starting a career as an IV technician technician.

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Should I Become an IV Technician?

An intravenous (IV) technician is sometimes a certified pharmacy technician who administers intravenous procedures in a medical center or retail pharmacy. They may prepare prescriptions and complete rounds in medical facilities to give patients their prescribed medications. Many of these techs are scheduled to work weekends and nights.

While on-the-job training is typically provided, certificate programs are also available that teach the basic skills needed to work in the field. After gaining experience and passing the proper certification exam, the candidate can officially serve as a certified IV technician.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Formal training is required in order to earn IV certification
Certification Required to administer intravenous fluids
Experience Experience as a pharmacy technician required
Key Skills Patience, dexterity, attention to detail
Salary $30,410 (2015 median for pharmacy technicians)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS); job postings (November 2012)

Formal training is required in order to earn IV certification, and experience working as a pharmacy technician is required. IV technicians should have patience, dexterity, and attention to detail.

According to 2015 data compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, pharmacy technicians earned a median salary of $30,410.

Steps to Become an IV Technician

Step 1: Complete a Formal Education Program

While there are no strict education requirements for becoming a pharmacy technician, formal training increases an applicant's chances of employment. Students can earn a pharmacy technician certificate through vocational schools, community colleges, or hospitals. Technician education programs incorporate classroom and lab work that focuses on handling and dispensing medications, medical terminology, and customer service.

Many training programs require students to complete an internship program. This gives students opportunities to gain hands-on experience in hospitals and pharmacies. Interns work beside experienced pharmacy techs to learn the basic functions of the job and facility, as well as leadership and communication skills. These programs typically require interns to complete projects focused on pharmaceutical studies, such as client care or pharmacy management.

Step 2: Earn Pharmacy Technician Certification

Few states require pharmacy techs to be certified, but certification can improve an applicant's chances for employment. The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board offers a Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) designation. This certification program is available to applicants with a high school diploma or equivalent and a valid license who have no felony, drug, or pharmacy convictions. To earn the CPhT designation, technicians must pass an exam and recertify every two years by completing 20 hours of continuing education courses.

Step 3: Gain Experience as a Pharmacy Technician

Certified pharmacy technicians can find positions in medical facilities and retail pharmacies. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), beginning technicians usually go through 3-12 months of on-the-job training. Duties typically include receiving and processing prescriptions, handling and mixing medications, preparing prescription labels, and educating customers on usage. Many technicians work part-time, but some pharmacies are open in the evening, overnight, and year-round, usually requiring employees to work nights, weekends, and holidays.

Step 4: Earn IV Technician Certification

Most pharmacies require technicians to be certified in IV procedures through an organization approved by state pharmacy boards. The National Pharmacy Technician Association (NPTA) offers the sterile product certification course to pharmacy technicians and students. The candidate must complete nine at-home modules with a score of at least 70%, and then attend a 2-day workshop at NPTA's Sterile Product Training Institute. The candidate must also prove his or her aptitude in eight IV techniques before becoming certified.

Step 5: Consider Opportunities for Career Advancement

Some IV technicians decide to go forward in their health care careers by becoming licensed practical nurses or registered nurses. Becoming a practical nurse requires the completion of a certificate program at a community college. Registered nurses need, at minimum, an associate's degree in nursing or to complete a hospital nursing diploma program.

Aspiring IV technicians need to earn an undergraduate pharmacy technician certificate or complete on-the-job training, and certification might be required in some states.

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