IV Technician Training
IV therapy certifications are available for both emergency medical services (EMS) workers and pharmacy technicians. It can be helpful to consider the educational requirements for both types of certifications as well as career information for both fields. Working under the direction of a physician adviser, an IV therapy technician can initiate IVs and intra-osseous (IO) infusions, such as saline locks, to emergency medical services (EMS) patients.
Training in IV therapy typically is available through hospitals, health departments, and community colleges. It may be offered as part of an EMT certificate or associate's degree curriculum or as a stand-alone program. Admission to an IV therapy training program usually requires proof of current state certification as at least a basic EMT.
Basic IV therapy training generally involves completion of classroom work and at least one clinical shift at a hospital. Topics of study might include:
- Clinical decision making
- Fluid and electrolyte balance
- IV therapy techniques
- Medical and legal ethics
- Shock assessment and treatment
Students in an IV therapy training program gain advanced EMT skills, including:
- IV initiation skills
- Medication administration skills
- Patient assessment skills
Some states incorporate IV therapy training as a requirement for higher-level EMT certifications, while others require specific certification as an IV therapy technician, a process that typically includes completion of specific courses, proof of several successful IV starts, and passage of an exam. Training in IV therapy also is required for upper-level credentials from the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT), including the Intermediate/85, Intermediate/99, and Paramedic certifications.
EMTs and paramedics earned a median annual wage of $32,670 in May 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, salaries varied based on training and experience as well as geographic location.
Job prospects for EMTs and paramedics were forecast to grow by 24% in the decade spanning 2014 - 2024, based on BLS figures. This was due to an expected increase in emergencies because of the aging population in addition to more hospital-to-hospital transfers because of overcrowding and medical center specialization.
What is IV Admixture Training?
IV admixture courses teach aspiring and current pharmacy technicians to prepare IV fluids, including total parenteral nutrition (TPN) and chemotherapy treatments, while using proper aseptic techniques to prevent contamination. These classes often are included in pharmacy technician certificate or associate degree programs, which are offered on the technical and community college levels.
IV admixture training also is offered as a continuing education (CE) option for technicians already registered with their state boards of pharmacy. Some of these CE programs, including one offered by the National Pharmacy Technician Association, are geared toward students who also have earned voluntary pharmacy technician certification through the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board.
Required coursework in an IV admixture program varies by state. Common course topics include:
- Infectious disease prevention
- Medication mixing methods
Most IV admixture programs for pharmacy technicians include a clinical component. Enrolled students should develop:
- Aseptic technique skills
- Vial manipulations skills
- Product sterilization skills
Pharmacy techs who pursue IV admixture training are qualified to prepare medications for patients who need IV therapy. This skill might make them more appealing to potential employers.
Pharmacy Technician Career Info
Pharmacy technicians assist pharmacists with filling prescriptions for individual customers and health professionals. They may find work in commercial pharmacies, but those who prepare intravenous medications usually work in hospitals. Some of their daily job duties can include:
- Measuring out medications for prescriptions
- Labeling and packaging prescriptions
- Making rounds within a hospital to give medications to patients
- Setting up meetings between pharmacists and patients when necessary
- Accepting customer payments for medications
- Processing insurance claims
Pharmacy technicians earned a median hourly salary of $14.86 in 2016, according to the BLS. This hourly rate translated to a yearly income of around $30,920 for full-time workers. Those who worked in medical and surgical hospitals earned a mean annual wage of $37,130.
Pharmacy techs can expect positive job growth in the coming years. The BLS projected jobs for pharmacy technicians would increase by 9% between 2014 and 2024, which is faster than the national average. This is likely due to an increase in demand for prescription medications, which is driven by an aging population and a growing number of individuals who have access to health insurance.
IV certification is available for EMS technicians, such as EMTs and paramedics, as well as pharmacy technicians. Certification requirements vary since these professionals handle intravenous materials in different ways.