Are you organized, social, caring, and like helping people in a fast-paced environment? Then, a career as a Pathology Collector could be worth exploring.
Pathology collectors collect, store, and preserve body fluids and tissue samples for lab analysis and medical diagnosis. They help physicians identify diseases and plan treatments to enhance people's health and well-being.
To become a Pathology Collector, you usually need a Certificate III in Pathology Collection, a First Aid certificate, a Working With Children check, and a valid driver’s license.
Are you interested in becoming a Pathology Collector in Australia? Read this blog to learn who they are - what they do, the skills needed, the courses to study, how much they earn, and how to become one.
1. What Is A Pathology Collector?
Pathology Collectors are trained individuals who use their technical knowledge to extract, collect, label, and preserve blood and other biological samples from patients.
These samples help medical professionals detect ailments, evaluate health conditions, or provide information during an autopsy.
Pathology Collectors work in various medical environments, including hospitals or suburban collection centres. They may also travel to patients’ homes.
2. Pathology Collector Tasks, And Duties
The general duties of a Pathology Collector include:
Record patients' details, including their name, age, weight, blood type, and contact details
Guide patients or their caregivers through the sampling procedure
Use hypodermic needles to extract blood
Use swabs to collect DNA samples or mucus
Follow safety procedures to ensure precise labelling and storage of samples
Prepare specimen for pickup by courier
Use microscopes and other equipment for specimen analysis
Prepare and deliver blood samples to the lab within strict timeframes
Clean and prepare the laboratory and equipment as per the safety procedures and stringent hygiene regulations.
Keep accurate and updated patient records of interaction, test history, and all other procedures.
Provide refreshments to blood donors so that they take adequate sugar back into their system
Take care of donors who feel dizzy or experience an adverse reaction after blood donation
Maintain equipment and orders supplies
Give speeches about blood donation and promote blood collection days
May drive a blood bank collection vehicle
Consult with pathologists and medical team members
Provide tissue samples as evidence in court cases
3. Pathology Collector Skills For Success
Pathology collectors use a mix of soft and technical skills to execute their duties properly. Some of these include:
Strong understanding of human anatomy and medical terminology
Knowledgeable about the various kinds of pathological specimens and Phlebotomy procedures
Skilled at handling specimens, including collection, identification, labelling, and storage
Able to use laboratory equipment to perform tests and procedures
Data analysis skills
Infection prevention and control policies
Enjoy working with diverse people
Good Communication skills
Nimble and steady hands
Respect and maintain confidentiality
Sympathetic and Cooperative
Customer service skills
Excellent attention to detail
Able to follow instructions and procedures diligently
Strong sense of compassion
Organizational and time management skills
Excellent attention to detail
Able to work under pressure
Pathology administration skills
Clean, well-groomed, and neat personality
High level of accuracy while collecting and labelling specimens
4. What Qualifications Do You Need For Pathology Collection?
To work as a Pathology Collector in Australia, the minimum qualification you need is a Certificate III in Pathology Collection. Some employers prefer candidates with relevant experience in a medical field like nursing.
Below is a checklist to qualify for this role:
You must be 16 years of age or above.
Complete studies equivalent to an Australian 10-year qualification in Maths, English, and Biology
Complete a relevant qualification like Certificate III in Pathology Collection (HLT37215) or Diploma of Laboratory Technician from an approved educational institution.
Secure a supervised work placement in a laboratory or a pathology collector traineeship while studying. It will give you the necessary experience, guidance, and mentorship from experienced lab workers.
Hold a current First Aid Certification and Working with Children Check.
Hold a valid full driver’s licence to work from off-site locations.
5. Steps To Become A Pathology Collector In Australia
Below steps will help you qualify and get started in a Pathology Collector role:
Step 1: Start Early
Your professional journey in becoming a Pathologist will start from high school. Maths, Science, and English language courses will prepare you to take advanced studies such as a certificate or diploma program to work in this role.
Consider volunteering at a hospital, a care facility, or a health and wellness clinic to learn about the industry while acquiring skills in health care. It is a great chance to work alongside medical professionals and build your professional network.
Step 2: Complete A Certificate or Diploma Course
To work confidently, safely and efficiently as a Pathology collector, you should have good knowledge of Pathology collection techniques, Infection control, Electrocardiography, Medical terminology, and Customer service.
A Certificate III in Pathology Collection course trains you in all areas of pathology collection. The course curriculum includes classroom study and supervised practical training that equips you with the skills to work in varied medical environments, including hospitals, doctor's offices, and the private sector. Also, this course is a pathway to further study or associated healthcare careers.
If you want to study for an advanced course, you can take a Diploma of Laboratory Technician course that gives a broader set of laboratory skills. Students are trained in the following topics:
Data processing and interpretation
Chemical pathology testing
Techniques for collecting cells and cultures
Step 3: Complete The Other Work Requirements
Besides relevant qualifications, Pathology Collectors need CPR or first aid training to attend to patients during medical emergencies and a valid driver's licence to travel to deliver samples to fully equipped off-site laboratories for analysis.
Additionally, those working in the health care and aged care industries must ensure that their vaccinations are up to date. It helps minimize the chances of catching vaccine-preventable diseases.
Step 4: Earn Practical Experience
Working under the direction of an experienced pathology professional helps you develop the necessary job skills through practice and widening your professional network.
Alternatively, find opportunities to work in a local pathology laboratory to gain valuable insights into the role and build work experience before entering the job market.
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6. Pathology Collector Course In Australia
The Certificate III in Pathology Collection is the ideal entry-level course to begin a career in pathology. The qualification equips you with the hands-on skills needed to work as a pathology specimen collector.
The course helps build knowledge to perform capillary and venous blood collections, including infection control, first aid, and electrocardiograms in different medical environments. Some are pathology collection centres, specialist rooms, hospitals, GP clinics, and other public and private health settings.
In addition to the technical skills, students also develop customer service, communication skills, discretion, and judgment to use in different situations.
It is the ideal qualification for those looking to work as a pathology assistant, pathology collector, laboratory assistant, pathology specimen collector/ Phlebotomist, or pathology team leader.
The Diploma course is an advanced-level course that is perfect for those looking to upgrade their qualification to increase their skills and employability while working in a laboratory.
It is a high-level tertiary qualification that teaches innovative techniques and transferable skills across various industries, including clinical science, forensic science, pathology pharmaceutical, biotechnology, food and beverage testing, and chemical and environmental analysis.
7. Pathology Collector Jobs In Australia
There is a demand for Pathology Collectors in Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland. Pathology collectors often work in medical laboratories in public and private clinics and hospitals.
They may also work in doctors' offices, aged care facilities, diagnostic laboratories, medical centres, blood donor centres, private research facilities, specialist pathology providers, or even visit patients’ homes for specimen collection.
Within these healthcare settings, they can work in different specialities or departments such as surgical units, transfusion services, haematology, or even the hospital morgue. There are very few “work from home” opportunities and limited jobs in regional areas.
8. Work Environment For Pathology Collectors
Pathology collectors work with people from all walks of life. Their work environment differs based on their place of employment. Those working in a hospital may work in a fast-paced environment compared to those working in private research and other laboratories.
Pathology collectors usually work a fixed number of business hours per week but may need to work on evenings or weekends on a shift basis. Part-time work is available.
Hospital employees occasionally work nights, holidays, and weekends to accommodate the hospital's needs. Those working in doctor's offices may sometimes work on weekends and at night to serve patients who miss appointments during regular business hours.
The role requires good physical fitness and stamina as pathology collectors work on their feet for several hours a day. Driving to locations for pathology collection is a consideration when considering working in this profession.
It is a diverse role with pathology collectors juggling tasks such as working with human tissues, using lab equipment to gather, studying, and preserving samples, performing procedures, writing reports, updating records and using paper or e-filing systems.
9. How Much Does A Pathology Collector Earn In Australia?
The pathology collectors' salary varies by the level of education, geographic location, work setting, nature of employment (full-time or part-time), and years of experience.
A pathology collector who works in a private laboratory holding several years of experience earns a higher average salary than less experienced ones working in a public hospital.
So, how much do pathology collectors get paid? According to to SEEK, the average pathology collector’s salary in Australia ranges from $50,000 to $60,000 per year. The estimated Pathology collector salary in Melbourne is between $50,000 and $60,000 per year.
10. Job Prospects For Pathology Collectors In Australia
Pathology Collectors: ANZSCO ID 311216
Every year, pathologists complete around 500 million pathology tests. With an ageing population, discoveries in human genetics, and new specialities within pathology, hospitals will need pathology collectors to collect blood and tissue samples and arrange for tests for diagnosis, treatment, and other medical breakthroughs.
It indicates a need for Pathology collectors in the Australian health care industry. The government projects that the employment of pathology collectors will grow at a fast pace than the average for all occupations.
Around 41% of employed Pathology Collectors work full-time hours for an average of 40 hours per week. (All Jobs Average - 44 hours per week).
Percentage of Employment across Australia
New South Wales: 31.1%
South Australia: 6.3%
Western Australia: 11.5%
Northern Territory: 0.5%
Australian Capital Territory: 1.4%
Worker’s Age and Gender Profile
Average Age In Years: 45 years, with most between 45 and 54 years. (All Jobs Average - 40 years)
Female Share: 92% (All Jobs Average - 48%)
11. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Why Should You Become A Pathology Collector?
Here are the most convincing reasons to pursue a Pathology Collector profession:
As a pathology collector, you play a valuable part in diagnosing health issues and significantly impacting people's lives.
You enjoy learning and employment opportunities in the health care and social assistance industry.
Pathology collectors are essential workers in society. This profession offers a high level of job security.
Interacting with people from diverse backgrounds and the variety of tasks makes the job interesting.
What One Skill Makes You The Most Qualified as a Pathology Collector?
No single skill can make you the most qualified candidate for this role. It requires a combination of soft and technical skills to work successfully in this role.
The most desirable skills for a Pathology Collector are:
Like working with people
Good understanding of medical terminology
Neat and clean appearance
Good customer service
High level of accuracy
Is A Phlebotomist The Same as a Pathology Collector?
Pathology collectors gather patients' biological samples, including blood, faeces, swabs, and urine, to process and diagnose them. On the other hand, a phlebotomist draws only blood and no other pathology samples.
How Long Does It Take To Become A Pathology Collector in Australia?
The minimum qualification you need to become a Pathology Collector is a Certificate III in Pathology Collection.
It is a 6-months-full time course that involves a few hours of work placement. In addition to it, you also need to complete First Aid Training and pass a “Working with Children Check”.
A career as a Pathology Collector is an in-demand healthcare job and the easiest one to acquire out of all the other professions in the pathology field.
It is often considered the stepping stone to advancing one’s career paths in healthcare. If this role interests you, a Certificate III in Pathology Collection is the ideal entry-level qualification to begin your pathology collection career.
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