Medical Laboratory Technician Career Facts

In some ways, being a medical lab technician is like being a detective. In this job, you take samples of patient's tissues and body fluids and carefully test them in order to find out illnesses. You are also responsible for performing daily blood and urine tests. You may also have to enter and test information into a computer system. You're also responsible for cleaning up laboratories, maintaining lab equipment and setting up testing equipment. You may also have to follow-up with patients and answer questions.

Educational Requirements

For those interested in this position, you should take many science courses during high school such as chemistry, biology and math. Although there is no requirement for medical lab technicians, most people will not get hired unless you have some kind of post-secondary degree. To become a medical technician, you usually need around 2 to 3 years of college to get a diploma. All programs include clinical placement and some colleges help you find a career before you graduate.

Daily Schedule

A typical day of a medical lab technician includes testing samples, meeting with doctors, communicating with patients, setting up laboratory equipment and entering patient information. Most technicians must earn a certificate from the the American Medical Technologists by passing a national exam which is offered twice each year. Once you have this, you can begin working. Some employers require that you take the exam before they hire you, but others allow you to show them that you will be eligible for the test and you plan to take it.

Working Conditions

Medical laboratory technicians work in a number of different work environments such as hospitals, medical laboratories, research institutions and some work in police forensic laboratories. Individuals in this field usually do shift work. Evenings and weekends work is common. Full-time medical lab techs work between 35 and 45 hours per week while part-timers tend to work about 20 hours a week.

People starting off in this field usually work part-time. Medical lab techs they often come into things such as diseases that are contagious but the likelihood of infection is reduced due to safety equipment and proper safety procedure handling. People in this career basically work anywhere they want in the world because most areas have medical laboratories. Different countries have different requirements, so it is better to research before making any decisions.

Earnings

Income levels for this job varies between who you work for and what you specialize in. For example, people working in hospitals earn more than those who work in physicians offices. According to Payscale.com, Medical lab techs usually make between 30,000 and 60,000 per year. A highly trained experience technician can make more than 60,000 per year. In addition to salary, most technicians usually receive medical and dental benefits and also retirement plans.

This is a very rewarding career if you plan to get into the medical field. Although some stress comes with it, it is common with all jobs. You will be working alongside health care professionals in a comfortable environment where you can help doctors and other individuals diagnose illnesses.