Some 300,000 people work as medical laboratory professionals in the USA, and quite a significant proportion of these are medical laboratory technicians. Their role is to find out whether diseases are present or not, how bad they are and what has caused them. Their role is highly skilled and involves performing a range of tests in laboratories. The results of these are instrumental to patient care, which demonstrates the importance of getting the job done right.
A medical laboratory technician works in labs, and they are supervised by medical technologists. Their roles are very similar, although the technologist will usually have more management responsibilities. Both work with tissues, cells and blood of humans and both use the same type of equipment. The technician’s role is mainly to support the technologist. Hence, they will be instructed in terms of what to look for. This could be something like a bacterium, malignance, genetic abnormality, parasite and so on. Furthermore, they are responsible for discovering blood types and do other routine tests. As such, the level at which they work is generally less complex than that of a technician, but no less important. However, due to the slightly simpler nature of their job, they have slightly less stringent educational requirements.
Medical Laboratory Technician Training
In order to be a medical lab technician, it is recommended to have followed various scientific subjects in high school. This includes chemistry, biology, computer sciences and maths. It is then required to complete an associate’s degree in a relevant subject. This means you will need to do at least two years of college, whether this is at a university, a vocational school, a community college or a technical school. Following the associate’s degree, accredited training specifically for medical laboratory technicians has to be completed as well. More and more, this accredited training is available through medical laboratory technician online schools.
If a medical laboratory technician proceeds to bachelor degree with their medical lab technician studies, this enables them to promote to medical technologist instead. However, they do also have to have the right experience in order to have this career.
Medical Lab Technician Salary
The salary of a medical lab technician usually depends on the setting in which they work. The top 10% earn as much as $50,250 per annum. However, the average was $32,840 in 2009, the last time this question was researched. There are a number of locations where the role is generally better paid, including in university and hospitals. Those who work in physician offices, medical laboratories or small clinics tend to get paid less. A medical technician entry job generally gets paid slightly less, but progression is quite quick.
A Medical Laboratory Technician – Cool Job or Not?
Whether or not the job is “cool” is down to personal preference. However, it cannot be denied that it is a job in very high demand. Indeed, in the US, more than half of all the medical laboratories are currently looking for at least one technician. Furthermore, the job is very important in terms of patient care. This means it is a profession that actually has an impact on the lives of real people. However, since there is no need to interact on a one to one basis with patients, it is more suitable to those who don’t generally like interaction as much. Direct patient care is not something that is common for medical laboratory technicians, so it means that it gives shy people the opportunity to still make a difference. It is a job that means you have to love both technology and science, but if that sounds like something you like, you can almost guarantee you will enjoy the job of medical lab worker.