Education and Training Requirements
High school courses that will prepare you for a medical-based education will be the most valuable in this profession. Science courses such as biology and chemistry are important, as are courses in psychology, sociology, math, and health.
If you live near a transplant center, there may be volunteer opportunities available at the center or in an outpatient care home for transplant recipients. The local Red Cross also may need volunteers for promoting donor awareness.
There is no specific educational track for transplant coordinators. One transplant coordinator may focus on financing and insurance, while another may work on education and awareness. Another coordinator may perform physical tests and evaluations, while another counsels grieving families. The more experience and education with health care and medicine, the better the job opportunities. A nursing degree isn't required of all coordinators but it does offer a good medical background. A bachelor's degree in one of the sciences, along with experience in a medical setting, will also open up job opportunities. Some people who work as coordinators may have master's degrees in public health or in business administration. Other coordinators may hold doctorates in psychology or social work.
Other Education or Training
NATCO - The Organization for Donation and Transplant Professionals provides an introductory course that is designed to provide basic information to new procurement or transplant professionals, as well as an Organ Preservation Symposium and professional development opportunities at its annual conference. The International Transplant Nurses Society also provides continuing education classes and webinars. Contact these organizations for more information.
Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements
Certification or Licensing
Certification, though not required, is available through the American Board for Transplant Certification. Four certification designations are available: certified clinical transplant coordinator, certified procurement transplant coordinator, certified clinical transplant nurse, and certified transplant preservationist. To become certified, applicants must meet work experience requirements and pass an examination.
Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
Previous experience in nursing, transplant support careers, social work, or related areas is typically required to become a transplant coordinator.
Successful transplant coordinators have good organizational skills and are able to work quickly, accurately, and efficiently. They are detail-oriented and have good record-keeping and reporting skills. A transplant coordinator needs to be a compassionate person who is able to communicate well with doctors, patients, donors' families, and the public.