Medical laboratory technicians, also known as medical laboratory scientists and clinical laboratory science professionals, are highly skilled specialists. The job is exciting and vital for the patient's healthcare. Their job is to detect the presence or absence of a disease in the body with tests. Once the tests are done, physicians will treat patients depending on the results of the tests performed by the medical laboratory technicians.

It is not common to interact with patients directly, the majority of tests are ordered from recommendations of different doctors and healthcare providers. Instead of interacting with patients, performing tests on human bodily fluids is very common for this profession. These samples are collected by healthcare professionals and nurses to find abnormalities or determine a diagnosis. Job tools could go from microscopes, computers to other laboratory equipment. Keeping records is very important for all kind of data obtained while performing tests.

Medical Laboratory Technician

There are different areas of specialization such as clinical chemistry, microbiology, and immunology. Some others work under general nature. The tests performed in both areas are very important for the prevention and management of diseases. In the medical field, these results can help diagnose and treat a variety of diseases such as diabetes, cancer or any other serious health condition.

Job Description

General duties in the Job Description are very important so when it come to the job description of medical laboratory technician the there are few things the medical laboratory technician is responsible for. A medical laboratory technician is responsible for performing tests to assist physicians preventing, treating, monitoring and diagnosing a variety of diseases.

Here you can find some examples of these responsibilities:

  • Assist a pathologist to perform a tissue examination.
  • Examine bodily fluids and tissues to find abnormalities at a chemical level.
  • Analysis and medical research.
  • Determine blood type for a successful transfusion.

Become a Medical Laboratory Technician

You need to answer these questions first, before thinking to become a medical laboratory technician, you must know if this career is the right for you.

  • Are you interested in performing testing to help treat and identify cancer, diabetes, disease or any other health condition?
  • Does the chance of promotion to advance into a greater position with much more responsibilities interest you?

Answering these questions will help you determine if you are suited for a career as a medical laboratory technician.

Opportunities for Promotion

Medical laboratory technicians have room for improvement. In some cases, they continue their education, adding more experience and knowledge to become researchers or scientists. The result is a promotion such as an administrative, senior or a variety of management positions.

Education Needed

To qualify and get an entry-level job in this field, you need at least a bachelor's degree in life sciences or medical technology. The education that will give you the knowledge needed could include courses in statistics, mathematics, chemistry, microbiology and biology.

The degree must be accredited by a recognized national or regional accreditation agency.

Here, you can find some additional requirements for this job:

  • Certifications must include laboratory experience.
  • The applicant must have graduated within the past five years.
  • Completing the program in more than five years or not having an experimental component requires document evidence of six months of approved laboratory experience before being eligible for certification.
  • The laboratory experience must have gained while employed in a laboratory performing a biological and chemical examination of human body fluids.
  • The experience must have been obtained within the last five years.
  • Laboratory experience will be verified. The experience is assumed to be from full-time employment with an average of forty hours a week.

Alternate Education

The applicant should have completed at least two years of courses, which is roughly sixty semester hours. The accredited courses must be recognized by a national or regional accreditation agency, including twenty-five semester hours as minimum related to biological or chemical science.

Computer science and mathematics are included as well inside the twenty-five hours with a limit of six hours as a maximum.

Here, you can find some additional requirements for this job:

  • The laboratory experience must be from employment, not from training.
  • The experience should include a physical, chemical or biological examination of human body fluids.
  • The experience must have been obtained within the last five years.
  • Laboratory experience will be verified. The experience is assumed to be from full-time employment with an average of forty hours a week.

Military

The applicant should have completed at least fifty weeks in the military medical laboratory training program.

Here, you can find some additional requirements for this job:

  • The laboratory experience must meet the certification requirements.
  • The applicant must have graduated within the past five years.
  • Completing the program in more than five years or not having an experimental component requires document evidence of six months of approved laboratory experience before being eligible for certification.
  • The laboratory experience must have gained while employed in a laboratory performing a biological and chemical examination of human body fluids.
  • The experience must have been obtained within the last five years.
  • Laboratory experience will be verified. The experience is assumed to be from full-time employment with an average of forty hours a week.

Certification Needed

In Certification needed first let’s talk about the general information needed to become an medical laboratory technician

General Information

Each state or province has different rules and laws. You may need a license to work in this field. There are some licensing courses you can do:

  • American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science.
  • The Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science.

To find more accredited education programs, be sure to check out the National Accrediting Agency For Clinical Laboratory Sciences.

Work Environment

It is divided into two different environments. 50% of them work in specialized laboratories like physician offices and federal agencies while the other half in hospitals.

Even though it could be a dangerous job because some infectious materials are involved, it is considered very safe thanks to regularly training and proper gear when manipulating such materials.

Regarding work hours, it is very flexible. Normal business hours but weekends and holidays may be needed in hospitals like any other 24/7 facility.

Who Hires Medical Laboratory Technicians?

  • Private or public clinics and hospitals.
  • Chemical or pharmaceutical industries.
  • Private or public research laboratories.

Estimated Salary

The annual wage from Bureau of Labor Statistics is $41,080, an estimated salary. In words of Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook is very positive with a 15% grow between 2017 and 2022. When comparing these numbers to other jobs, the results are very good and better than the average job. Healthcare is a huge industry due to the increase in population.

Recap

A medical laboratory technician is an interesting job and vital for the people's healthcare. The primary job is to detect the presence of a disease in the body. The tests performed by a medical laboratory technician will help physicians treat their patients. Instead of interacting directly with patients, testing human bodily fluids is the main job for this profession. Keeping organized records is a must. The common tools used are microscopes, computers, and other laboratory equipment.

The areas of specialization include clinical chemistry, microbiology, immunology and general nature.

To work in this field, it is necessary a bachelor's degree in life sciences or medical technology, and it must be accredited by a recognized national or regional accreditation agency.

Some of the responsibilities of this job may include:

1. Assist a pathologist to perform a tissue examination.

2. Examine bodily fluids and tissues to find abnormalities at a chemical level.

3. Analysis and medical research.

4. Determine blood type for a successful transfusion.

About the certification, depending on the state or province, a different rule or law may apply. Find a list of accredited education programs in the National Accrediting Agency For Clinical Laboratory Sciences.

This profession offers great potential for promotions. Some medical laboratory technicians continue their education to get a suitable promotion for management positions. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shared the annual wage for this profession, which is around $41,080. Regarding the job outlook, there will be a grow of 15% between 2017 and 2022 due to the increasing population.

When talking about the environment, 50% of the medical laboratory technicians work in specialized laboratories such as physician offices and federal agencies, while the remaining 50% in hospitals.

Manipulating some infectious materials could be considered a very dangerous job to do, but these professionals are well trained and have the proper equipment to work under these circumstances. Safety is very important, and that is the reason behind the regular training provided to most laboratories. Regarding work hours, it is very flexible. Normal business hours but weekends and holidays may be needed in hospitals like any other 24/7 facility. The work shift could be morning, afternoon or night.