Summary of occupation
Haematologists specialise in diseases affecting the blood. They are concerned with any abnormality of the blood, including blood cells and coagulation. Some diseases of the blood include anaemia, leukaemia, lymphoma, polycythaemia and haemophilia.
Haematologists usually begin their examinations by looking at a person's nails, hands, skin, hair, eyes and mouth. They would also examine lymph nodes and order any necessary blood tests.
Haematologists work within specialist departments in hospitals - a great deal of their work is laboratory-based. Haematology services must be available at all times and as such haematologists can work unsocial hours.
Some haematologists work directly with patients in a clinical role and as such there are opportunities to work in private practice and have more regular working conditions.
On average, clinical haematologists can expect to earn between $2 692.31 and $3 461.54 per week ($140 000 and $180 000 a year) depending on the organisation that they work for and their level of experience. As a clinical haematologist develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.
Although automated analysers exist for the bulk of the more routine work in this field, specialised laboratory technqiques are still required in the areas of blood transfusion, coagulation and thrombotic disorders, haemoglobinopathies and white cell immunophenotyping.
Haematologists experience ongoing innovative clinical and laboratory developments, including rapid advances in molecular and cell biology. Not only do these developments mean the use of new tools and technologies, it also provides opportunities for ongoing research.
To become a clinical haematologist, you must first become a qualified medical practitioner and then specialise in clinical haematology.
In Western Australia, postgraduate courses in medicine are offered by the University of Notre Dame and the University of Western Australia. These degrees usually take four years to complete. Entry requirements include completion of a bachelor degree in any discipline. You must also sit the Graduate Australian Medical Schools Admissions Test and attend an interview at your chosen institution. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.
On completion of the postgraduate medical degree, you must work in the public hospital system for two years (internship and residency). To then specialise in clinical haematology, doctors can apply to the Royal Australasian College of Physicians to undertake further training and ultimately receive fellowship.
Apprenticeships and traineeships
As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.
If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.
If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.
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If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.