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IV Certified Technician: How Can I Earn My IV Certification?

Training in intravenous (IV) therapy, which can prepare students for state or national certification, is intended for current emergency medical technicians (EMTs). Certificate programs in IV admixture are geared toward aspiring and practicing pharmacy technicians. Most state pharmacy boards recommend that pharmacy techs complete training in IV admixture; however, there currently are no state or national IV certification requirements in the field.

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What is IV Therapy Technician Training?

Working under the direction of a physician adviser, an IV therapy technician can initiate IVs and intraosseous (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.

Required Coursework

Basic IV therapy training generally involves completion of classroom work and at least one clinical shift at a hospital. Topics of study might include the following:

  • Clinical decision making
  • Fluid and electrolyte balance
  • IV therapy techniques
  • Medical and legal ethics
  • Shock assessment and treatment

Skills Obtained

Students in an IV therapy training program gain advanced EMT skills, including the following:

  • IV initiation skills
  • Medication administration skills
  • Patient assessment skills

Career Related Information

Reasons for Pursuing IV Therapy Technician Training

Some states incorporate IV therapy training as a requirement for higher-level EMT certifications, while others require separate 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.

Salary Information

EMTs and paramedics earned a median annual wage of $29,330 in May 2008, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). However, salaries varied based on training and experience, as well as geographic location.

Economic Outlook and Growth of the Industry

Job prospects for EMTs and paramedics were forecast to grow by nine percent in the decade spanning 2008-2018, 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

Required coursework in an IV admixture program varies by state. Common course topics include the following:

  • Chemotherapy
  • TPN
  • Infectious disease prevention
  • Medication mixing methods
  • Pharmacology

Skills Obtained

Most IV admixture programs for pharmacy technicians include a clinical component. Enrolled students should develop:

  • Aseptic technique skills
  • Vial manipulations skills
  • Product sterilization skills

Career Related Information

Reasons for Pursuing IV Admixture Training

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.

Salary Information

Pharmacy technicians earned a median hourly salary of $13.32 in 2008, according to the BLS. This hourly rate translated to a yearly income of around $27,000 for full-time workers.

Economic Outlook and Growth of the Industry

Pharmacy techs can expect positive job growth in the coming years. The BLS projected jobs for pharmacy technicians would increase by 25% between 2008 and 2018.

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