Medical Laboratory Technician Careers Information
Medical laboratory technicians (also known as clinical laboratory technologists) are responsible for much of the complex laboratory work necessary in today’s high-tech medical world. Common tasks include microscopic examinations of sample cells, matching blood in preparation for transfusions, preparing samples, and administering or aiding in a wide variety of laboratory-based tests.
Medical Laboratory Technician Careers & Degrees
- Carrington College: Phoenix Westside
Some medical laboratory technicians specialize in an area of laboratory work, such as chemistry, microbiology, or cytotechnology–the study of cells to detect abnormalities, especially cancer.
Phlebotomists are a specific kind of technician that works with blood samples. As medical lab technicians often work with harmful or contagious agents, protective gear is often required and strict safety protocols are followed. Due to the need for test results in a timely manner, many medical laboratories stay open for very long hours, with techs working a variety of shifts from the traditional nine-to-five workday to graveyard shifts. Technologists are usually entrusted with more responsibilities than technicians.
Medical Laboratory Technician Careers Path
In order to become a medical laboratory technician, one must obtain either an associate’s degree in laboratory technology, or a certificate from a hospital or accredited technical school.
Since few medical laboratory technicians learn on-the-job, these programs ¡¬ Ã¢š¬Ã…œ offered by community and junior colleges, as well as vocational schools and the armed forces ¡¬ Ã¢š¬Ã…œ provide students with the technical and scientific skills essential to the career.
Additionally, this education will prepare students to pass necessary exams, which may be required for licensure or certification.
Depending on the state of employment, some medical laboratory technicians may be required to pass a licensure exam in order to practice. Information on licensure and registration can be found by visiting the individual states’ department of health websites, or by board of occupational licensing.
Many employers prefer that national or professional associations certify technicians, especially if they have specialized in a specific field. Recognized associations include the American Medical Technologists, the National Credentialing Agency for Laboratory Personnel, and the Board of Registry of the American Society for Clinical Pathology. Each individual agency has different requirements for certification, and sponsorship varies.
Medical Laboratory Technician Careers: Compatible Personality Traits
Scientific, diligent, meticulous, observant, practical, creative, patient, technological, problem-solving.
Medical Laboratory Technician Careers: Salary Expectations
Owing in part in increasing demand for skilled professionals, medical laboratory technicians are well-compensated. According to the Department of Labor, medical laboratory technologists earn a median annual salary of $53,500, while medical laboratory technicians earn a median annual salary of $35,380.
Possibilities for advancement are good. Technicians with adequate experience and education cam often move up to technologist, and technologists frequently move into management, administrative, and corporate roles.
Medical Laboratory Technician Careers: Job Outlook
According to the Department of Labor, employment among medical laboratory technicians is expected to rise by 16% by 2016. Growth should continue to be strong for the foreseeable future not only because of the increasing demand expected for the healthcare sector as America’s population ages and requires more care, but also because of the gradual adoption of new techniques and technologies in medical laboratories around the country.
Slightly Off the Footpath
Sources: bls.gov/oes/current/oes292011.htm; bls.gov/oes/current/oes292012.htm