Learning about Medical Laboratory Technicians

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August 13th, 2008

Healthcare jobs are amongst the most high demand jobs in today’s job market.  As technology continues to change and there is greater need for healthcare due to rises in population, many healthcare occupations are projected to be among the fastest growing and high demand jobs in the occupational market.  Medical laboratory technicians, in particular are expected to have excellent job opportunities over the next several years, with an estimated 25,000 new jobs available by 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Additionally, the bureau suggests that while most jobs will continue to grow in hospitals, medical laboratory technicians will see growth in other settings as well.

Medical lab testing plays a crucial role in the detection, diagnosis and treatment of diseases and illnesses.  Medical laboratory technicians, also known as clinical laboratory technicians,  are those individuals that work in the laboratories and perform the tests to make diagnoses on patients.  They perform routine tests using bodily fluids such as blood and tissues, and work with medical equipment and technology, microscopes, and chemicals,  to test samples, usually under the supervision of a medical scientist, pathologist, or technologist.  Medical laboratory technicians may also be responsible for reporting lab results and maintaining laboratory records and paperwork.  The ideal medical laboratory technician should demonstrate plenty of patience, the ability to work well under pressure, and play close attention to detail, as even the smallest change in procedure or substance amount can modify diagnosis efforts.

Medical laboratory technicians can be found in hospitals, clinics, universities, or independent laboratories, and often wear protective masks, gloves, and googles.  Personnel are trained to work with infectious specimen and few hazards exist when safety precautions are taken.  Most employers of laboratory technicians require an associate degree or certificate in medical technology or a related field, or hospital or previous training to be considered as a potential candidate.  The median annual income of a medical laboratory technician was $35,080 in 2008, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with the middle 50% of medical laboratory technicians earning between $28,420 and $44,310.

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