Specimen Processor: Salary, Duties, Requirements and Career Info

A specimen processor is a laboratory professional who catalogues specimens for use by other health care workers, including laboratory technicians, nurses, and physicians. Specimens can include blood samples, bacteria cultures, and even organs. Some specimen processors may only have a high school diploma, while others may complete higher levels of education and certification.

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Salary

According to PayScale.com the median hourly salary of a specimen processor was $12.00 as of July 14, with most workers in the field earning between $21,183 and $39,620 yearly. Salary rates can depend on a variety of factors, including required education, job duties, and location.

Duties

All specimen processors receive specimens, enter specimen data into a computer system, prepare samples for further laboratory analysis, and transport specimens to other labs and clinical departments. Other duties depend upon the type of specimens a processor works with.

For example, according to a Monster.com job posting from November 2013, specimen processors who work in phlebotomy, a field focused on the collection of blood samples, will be required to use a variety of venipuncture techniques to collect blood directly from patients. They may also use a centrifuge to separate blood into plasma and platelets for further study.

Requirements

Entry-level specimen processor positions usually require just a high school degree and basic data entry skills. For more advanced positions, employers may prefer those who have prior experience in a laboratory setting. Along with laboratory experience, data entry and organizational abilities as well as written and verbal communication abilities are essential for success in this field.

Specialized specimen processors may need some type of advanced education. For instance, phlebotomists may need an associate's degree or phlebotomy license, depending on local regulations. Histologists, specialized specimen processors who prepare tissue samples for microscopic analysis, may also need an associate's or bachelor's degree and a license to practice.

Career Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 164,300 medical and clinical laboratory technicians, including a variety of specimen processors, employed in 2012 (www.bls.gov).The employment of medical and clinical laboratory technicians is expected to increase by 30% between 2012 and 2022. This expected growth is due to an increased use of blood and tissue samples in a variety of diagnostic tests, as well as an aging population with increased health care needs.

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