What do Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technicians Do?
Have you ever wanted a job in the medical field, but didn’t want to spend 12 years in school? If so, you may want to entertain the idea of becoming a medical laboratory technician. In this role, you will be responsible for performing routine laboratory tests that aid in the treatment, diagnosis, and prevention of illnesses and injuries. The overwhelming majority of workers in this field work in a clinical setting, such a hospital or doctor’s office. They may also assist physicians and scientists with medical research. If you crave a research-heavy career in a laboratory environment, then put your analytical skills to use as a laboratory technician.
Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technicians Skills and Abilities
Since this is a medical profession that relies heavily on scientific data and information, knowledge of biology and chemistry will be needed. This includes understanding cells, bodily organs, and the chemical reactions that take place throughout the human body. Workers in this field will be required to interact with patients, physicians, and other technicians, so great interpersonal and communication skills will go a long way. You should also have basic knowledge of how to properly use, store, and clean common laboratory equipment and devices.
Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technicians Duties
Medical technicians make a living by helping to collect and analyze biological matter such as tissues, cells, blood, and other bodily fluids. They may also interpret the results of laboratory tests, and convey them to the appropriate personnel. A major part of this field includes the cleaning and maintenance of lab equipment, and workers are expected to properly clean, calibrate, and sterilize tools. Technicians may also be responsible for directly collecting tissues and samples from patients or volunteers. Workers in this field may also be asked to:
- Enter test results and patient data into computers
- Prepare specimens for scientific analysis
- Cultivate microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi
- Supervise and/or train less experienced technicians
- Work closely with physicians and other healthcare providers
- Bill patients for services provided
Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technicians Tools and Technology
In such a research-heavy profession, a wide range of laboratory devices are employed. Since the most commonly collected bodily fluid is blood, hematology and coagulation analyzers are used. Other basic laboratory tools, such as jars and test tubes are also utilized. Scientific and financial software programs are used to analyze data and bill patients for medical services.
Education and Training for Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technicians
This line of work does require some education, and the majority of laboratory technicians possessed at least an associate’s degree. According to statistics, 44% held a bachelor’s degree, and nearly 18.6% had completed some college level courses. This means before you land a job in this field, you must complete at least 2 years of higher education, and more ambitious job seekers may complete 4. Laboratory technician education programs are commonly offered at community and vocational schools across the nation.
Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technicians Salary
The mean annual wage for a medical laboratory technician is $40,750, with the top 10% earning around $60,000, and the lowest 10% earning nearly $25,500 yearly. Over the last year there was a 0.4% increase in wages for workers in this field. Medical technicians employed by the pharmaceutical industry reported the highest earnings and those employed by the ambulatory healthcare services industry earned the least. Technicians in the Northeastern and Western United States enjoyed the highest salaries.
Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technicians Jobs by Geography
The states of California, Texas, and Pennsylvania employed the highest levels of lab techs in the nation. Rhode Island, Vermont, and New Jersey paid the highest salaries in the industry. There are currently 160,460 Americans employed as medical laboratory technicians, and there was a 1.5% increase in employment levels for these workers. This is a rapidly growing field, and there are expected to be 9,020 new lab tech jobs created over the next 7 years.