What do Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technologists Do?
Have you ever wanted to earn a living by performing research and analyzing scientific data? If so, you may want to consider becoming a medical and clinical laboratory technologist. These people make a living by administering and analyzing complex medical tests. The results of these tests are then used in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of illnesses and injuries. Technologists are commonly found working in hospitals and clinics, but may also be employed by government agencies, research facilities, universities, and pharmaceutical companies. Medical technologists may help train and supervise lab technicians and less experienced technologists.
Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technologists Skills and Abilities
In-depth knowledge of biology and chemistry is needed to become a medical technologist, and you should understand the basic principles of biochemistry and physiology. Workers in this field should also feel comfortable utilizing various technologies, such as computers, to input, store, and organize data and patient information. Since you will be performing medical tests on a routine basis, you should understand how to properly use, maintain, and clean laboratory equipment. The ability to comprehend written and spoken English is needed when performing tests and communicating with patients, coworkers, and superiors.
Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technologists Duties
Medical technologists perform a wide range of tasks in any given work environment. Many are charged with performing complex tests and experiments involving bodily tissues, cells, and even genetic material. These tests may be performed independently, or under the supervision of more experienced physicians and scientists. Technologists will be expected to prepare formal reports regarding the outcomes of these tests, and the information is oftentimes used to aid in the treatment of a patient. Hospitals and clinical institutions may also consult technologists when establishing rules governing healthcare quality and safety procedures. Medical laboratory technologists may also:
- Collect biological samples from donors or patients
- Clean and inspect medical supplies
- Enter patient information into computers
- Maintain laboratory equipment
- Conduct educational classes for medical providers
Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technologists Tools and Technology
This is a research-intensive profession, and you will be employing a wide range of medical and scientific equipment when performing your job. Autoclaves and sterilizers are commonly used to keep laboratory equipment clean. Basic equipment such as flasks, tubes, jars, and dishes are needed when collecting and examining biological matter. After receiving a formal education, technologists will be expected to know how to properly use a microscope and analysis tools. Computer programs are often employed to help model, store, and interpret patient data.
Education and Training for Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technologists
This line of work does require a college education, and the majority of technologists have at least bachelor’s degree. Roughly 17% of workers held an associate’s, and almost 19% attended college, but did not graduate. This means that 2-4 years of undergraduate education is standard, and that most technologists will be required to attend a college or university. Courses in biology, chemistry, physics, and statistics are a fundamental part of the technologist curriculum.
Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technologists Salary
This career provides a chance to earn a relatively decent salary. The annual mean salary for a medical laboratory technologist is $60,560, with the top 10% earning around $82,000. Over the last year, there was a 0.3% increase in wages for workers in this field. Technologists employed by the pharmaceutical industry earned the highest wages. Those employed by ambulatory healthcare services earned the lowest wages.
Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technologists Jobs by Geography
Texas, California, and Florida had the highest levels of employment in the medical technologist industry. California, Massachusetts, and Connecticut paid the highest salaries in the field. Workers in the Northeastern and Western United States earned the highest wages, while those in the South earned the lowest. There are currently around 166,000 Americans employed as medical laboratory technologists, and there was a 1% increase in employment levels over the last year.