Laboratory Technician (Medical/Clinical)
Associate Degree from 2-year college or accredited training program Click here for more information
Clinical Laboratory Technician (CLT) or Certified Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT) Click here for more information
Average starting wage: $14.00 per hour
High Job Demand
Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technicians are also known as lab assistants and work under the supervision of a medical technologist or physician to perform tests that help physicians diagnose and treat diseases. Medical lab technicians prepare samples for analysis, use equipment to locate microorganisms, monitor tests and procedures, analyze the chemical content of fluids, match blood for transfusions, and test for drug levels in the blood. Technicians also culture bacteria to check for illness. This means growing microbes from samples in a special liquid or gel. These tests allow techs to identify bacteria like those that cause pneumonia or strep throat. Techs also check tissue samples for cancer cells and they enter patient and test data into a computer database.
Techs use high-tech instruments like microscopes and chemical analyzers to perform lab tests. Many lab techs specialize in one kind of testing. Those who focus on hematology, test patients' blood. This helps them diagnose health problems such as diabetes, hepatitis, or high cholesterol.
Like technologists, medical laboratory technicians may work in several areas of the laboratory or specialize in one area. For example, histotechnicians are a type of medical laboratory technician who cut and stain tissue specimens for pathologists—doctors who study the cause and development of diseases at a microscopic level.
If you are unfazed by blood and are interested in joining a unique field that combines science and medicine, you may be a good fit as a medical technician. Without skilled medical lab technicians, tests wouldn’t be accurate and useful.
- Conduct chemical analysis of body fluids, such as blood or urine, using microscope or automatic analyzer to detect abnormalities or diseases and enter findings into computer.
- Analyze the results of tests or experiments to ensure conformity to specifications, using special mechanical or electrical devices.
- Set up, maintain, calibrate, clean and test sterility of medical laboratory equipment.
- Prepare standard volumetric solutions or reagents to be combined with samples following standardized formulas or experimental procedures.
- Collect blood or tissue samples from patients, observing principles of asepsis to obtain blood sample.
- Conduct blood tests for transfusion purposes and perform blood counts.
- Inoculate fertilized eggs, broths or other bacteriological media with organisms.
- Obtain specimens, cultivating, isolating and identifying microorganisms for analysis.
Skills and Abilities Needed to Perform Job:
- Knowledge of plant and animal organism, their tissues, cell, functions, interdependencies and interactions with each other and the environment (Biology).
- Knowledge of chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo (Chemistry).
- Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics and their applications.
- Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities.
- Knowledge and use of analytical or scientific software.
- Knowledge and use of data base user interface and query software (FileMaker Pro).
- Knowledge and use of development environment software (LabVIEW)
- Knowledge and use of Medical software (Electronic medical record EMR software; Medical digital imaging software; MEDITECH software; and Test routing software).
- Knowledge and use of Microsoft software (Office, Excel, Work Outlook)
- Information Ordering – Ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules.
- Oral Comprehension – Ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Finger Dexterity – Ability to make precise coordinated movements of the fingers.
- Near Vision – Ability to see details at close range.
- Problem Sensitivity –Ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong.
- Category Flexibility – Ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Arm-Hand Steadiness – Ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
- Control Precision – Ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine to exact positions.
- Written Comprehension – Ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Desired Work Style Attributes:
- Attention to details
- Integrity – Honest and ethical
- Dependability – Reliable and responsible
- Cooperation – Pleasant with others
- Independence – Guiding oneself with little or no supervision
- Analytical Thinking – Analyzing information and using logic
- Initiative – Willing to take on responsibilities and challenges