If you enjoy biology and chemistry, you could consider medical laboratory colleges for technician training. As a medical laboratory professional, you will play an important role in the detection, diagnosis and treatment of disease. In addition, as a laboratory technician you would have a more standardized schedule than you would work in many other medical and healthcare positions. If you are patient, organized and detail-oriented, you might consider medical laboratory colleges to attain a B.S. in Clinical Laboratory Science.
Medical Laboratory Education and Training
As a medical lab technologist or clinical lab technician, you would perform tests and laboratory procedures, prepare lab specimens and operate automated analyzers. Technicians work in several areas of the clinical laboratory or specialize in one area. They usually work under the supervision of laboratory technologists or laboratory managers in clean, well-lit facilities. Students can specialize in areas that include chemistry, hematology, cytotechnology, immunology, virology, blood banking and microbiology.
Becoming a medical laboratory technologist requires graduating from Medical laboratory colleges and for advancement in the career, a Bachelor’s degree for example that offered by the University of Cincinnati. However, with an associate degree, diploma or certificate, you can become a medical or clinical laboratory technician assistant. With medical lab assistant training, you would also have the opportunity to learn more skills through on-the-job training.
The National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS) fully accredits 469 medical and clinical laboratory technician programs at community colleges, career colleges, junior colleges, vocational schools and technical schools around the nation. Certification and licensing requirements vary by state.
This means that you have more options about where you would get your training. Some states require laboratory personnel to be licensed or registered after graduation. Information on licensure requirements in your state of residence is available from your state department of health or board of occupational licensing. Courses may include:
- Practice of Phlebotomy
- Laboratory Analysis
- Medical Microbiology
- Hematology and Coagulation
- Laboratory Skills in Nuclear Medicine
- Urinalysis and Body Fluids
- Clinical Rotations (Practicum)
Medical Laboratory Technician Careers
Lab techs run different tests on tissues, cells, and fluids, match blood types; analyze drug concentration, look for bacteria, parasites, and viruses; and break down fluids chemical composition. They do this using instruments and tools to perform such as microscopes, automated equipment, cell counters etc. They summarize data which are then sent to the doctors for their review. Typical responsibilities with laboratory assistant training may include:
- Preparing blood, urine and tissue specimens for analysis
- Using laboratory equipment to identify bacteria, viruses, parasites and other microorganisms
- Monitoring tests and procedures
- Analyzing contents in fluids
- Matching blood for transfusions
- Testing for drug levels in the blood to examine how patients are responding to prescribed treatment
Clinical laboratory technicians can choose to specialize in different areas including chemistry or biochemistry, immunology, hematology, cytotechnology, virology, blood banking and microbiology. Clinical lab technologist work in different contexts and environments including:
- Doctors’ offices
- Long-term care facilities
- Private and independent laboratories
- Public health organizations
- Research and development departments in pharmaceutical and drug companies
Estimated Income and Projected Career Outlook
As a medical laboratory technician, you can expect to earn between $25,000 and $ 46,000 or more. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the growth of medical laboratory jobs, with other related medical jobs, will continue to be higher than in other professions. This means that medical laboratory colleges will be continue to experience more students applying to the medical programs.
The BLS also reports that the median annual wage of medical laboratory technologists was $56,130 in 2010 while the median annual wage of medical laboratory technicians was $36,280. Further, the employment of medical laboratory technologists is expected to grow by 11% between 2010 and 2020 while that of medical laboratory technicians is expected to grow by 15% during the same period.