Working as
Medical Lab Technician
In the United States, medical lab technicians form a major part of its growing 300,000 medical laboratory professionals. Based on the definition provided by the American Society of Clinical Pathology or ASCP: "A medical laboratory technician searches for basic clues to the absence, presence, extent, and causes of diseases. This skilled individual is responsible for performing laboratory tests efficiently and accurately for high-quality patient care." A medical lab technician usually works under the direct supervision of a medical technologist, although he may also work alongside pathologists and other physicians. The demand for this medical field is now also increasing significantly.


Medical lab technicians are involved with routine tasks of analyzing body fluid samples from patients in order to properly detect, accurately diagnose and effectively treat a wide range of health-related problems. Like a medical technologist, they are also involved with duties such as the operation of laboratory equipment, and assisting in the preparation and analysis of samples such as blood, urine, sputum, stool, and other body fluids. The duties of a medical lab technician are generally considered to be less complex as compared to medical technologists, which is also the reason why requirements for this medical field are less too.

Like any other medical fields, pursuing a career as a medical lab technician entails receiving formal education and training, which are necessary to be proficient in such a crucial task in health care. First and foremost, one must already hold a high school diploma or its equivalent in order to be eligible for entering a medical lab technician program. One must also have sufficient understanding in subjects such as biology, physics, algebra, geometry and chemistry. And since working as a medical lab technician involves constant interaction with patients, medical professional and other employees, excellent communication skills are an important asset to have too.

An individual who wishes to become a medical lab technician must then enroll in a two-year Associate's Degree program, which he must successfully complete. Clinical training will then follow which will provide the individual with the experience he needs to become proficient in his line of work. A certification exam must also be passed in order to receive the required certification prior to getting employed. A medical lab technician may also choose to specialize in different areas of clinical laboratory such as microbiology, mycology, genetics, coagulation, cytogenetics, histopathology, clinical biochemistry and virology.

Because of their scope of work, medical lab technicians can be found working in a wide range of offices and medical facilities. Besides hospitals, clinics and doctor's offices, they may also find employment opportunities in diagnostic laboratories, schools and universities, mobile care centers, biomedical firms, pharmaceutical companies and even in the military. Data from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reveal that the average annual salary for a medical lab technician can easily reach as high as $32,840, while those at the top 10 percent have been reported to receive salary thresholds of up to $50,250. The bureau also predicts that there will be a 14 percent growth rate for this medical field for the next eight years.