IV Therapist: Educational Requirements for a Career in IV Therapy

Intravenous (IV) therapists are trained medical professionals and may work as registered nurses (RNs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs) or emergency medical technicians (EMTs). They use venipuncture techniques to start catheter lines for IVs that may involve drug administration, hydration or blood transfusions.

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Educational Requirements

Prerequisites

Prerequisites for starting an IV therapy training program may vary by school. Those who are interested in enrolling in an IV therapy program may be required to be a current medical professional and have completed an EMT-Basic training program.

Current cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certification is also required for enrollment. Some programs may require students to have completed a venipuncture course and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) training.

Training Programs

IV therapy training programs are typically offered as certificate programs through many colleges. The length of IV therapist training programs will vary by school and the student's level of education. Individuals already in the medical profession, such as registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, EMTs, phlebotomists, can enroll in a conventional program that can be completed anywhere from six months to a year.

Coursework

The curriculum for IV therapists combines classroom presentations and lectures with a clinical component in a medical facility. Students are given an opportunity to work under the supervision of a current medical professional, where they are able to administer IVs to patients with their assistance.

Topics of study include blood compatibility, administering IV medications, blood transfusions, fluid and electrolyte therapy, anatomy and physiology. When coursework and a clinical experience are completed, students must take and pass a written test. Completion qualifies them to take a certification exam. Students will also need to demonstrate their ability to administer IVs.

Certification

Although certification is not required for IV therapists, employers tend to look favorably on individuals with this credential. Certification can be obtained through credentialing agencies like the Infusion Nurses Certification Corporation, which offers the Certified Registered Nurse in Infusion certification exam. The exam is a computer-based test given at various testing sites.

According to November 2013 data from Payscale.com, the median salary for RNs who specialize in infusion therapy was $70,971. The top ten percent of workers earned $97,753 and up, while the bottom ten percent earned $61,637 and below.

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