Medical Laboratory Technician Training

in Medical

Work behind the scenes in the health care industry as a medical laboratory technician to help patients live healthier, longer lives. Also known as clinical laboratory technicians or medical technicians, these trained technicians play a vital role in detecting, diagnosing and treating disease.
Overview of Medical Laboratory Technician Training
These trained technicians use cell counters, microscopes and other tools in their day-to-day work. Under the supervision of medical laboratory technologists, who typically have more training and a more complex job, technicians employ their own knowledge to solve mysteries within the human body.
With the help of high-tech devices and a trained eye, medical laboratory technicians use their skills to perform a number of different tasks. A day in the life of a medical laboratory technician might involve the following tasks:
Examine fluids for parasites or bacteria
Match blood from different donors for transfusions
Analyze the chemical content of fluids
Determine how a patient is responding to treatment by testing for drug levels in the blood
Though the job description is broad and includes complex tasks, medical laboratory technicians often find themselves in charge of a fairly automated process. Advanced machines do much of the workload in the job and technicians are there to use their training to properly complete tests, make sure procedures are conducted safely and interpret results.
Like most health care workers, medical laboratory technicians can choose to specialize in one aspect of the field. Below are examples of specialties available to medical laboratory technicians:
Phlebotomists collect blood samples from patients for transfusion or testing
Histotechnicians cut and stain tissue specimens for microscopic examination by pathologists
For workers with the proper training, healthy salaries are a bonus of the career. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that medical laboratory technicians earned mean annual wages of $37,860 in 2009. Those who worked in general medical and surgical hospitals earned slightly more, at $38,820.
Medical Laboratory Technician Training: Degrees and Coursework
An associate’s degree or certificate is recommended for medical laboratory technician training. Technicians need to work somewhat independently in the lab, so a high level of responsibility requires a higher level of education.
Medical laboratory technician training typically consists of core medical classes, general education essentials and hands-on laboratory practice. Take a look at some basic courses you might find in a training program for medical technicians:
Organic chemistry
Computer literacy
Laboratory residency
Coursework in a medical laboratory technician training program is designed to give you the fundamentals of clinical training plus the targeted instruction you need to accurately complete and interpret tests.
In addition to completing coursework, securing professional certification helps prove your competence and dedication to the career. The following associations offer certification for medical laboratory technicians:
Board of Registry of the American Society for Clinical Pathology
American Medical Technologists
National Credentialing Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences
Board of Registry of the American Association of Bioanalysts
While no career training program or certification can guarantee a career in the field, hiring managers often prefer to take on technicians with formal training experience. Working your way through a formal training program helps increase your knowledge and improve your odds of employment in hospitals, laboratories and doctor’s offices.
Medical Laboratory Technician Career Outlook
The BLS projects excellent job opportunities for medical laboratory technicians in the coming years. An estimated 25,000 new careers for medical and clinical laboratory technicians are expected to enter the industry between 2008 and 2018, for a growth rate of 16 percent.
For career growth within the industry, technicians may return to school to complete a bachelor’s degree in medical technology. From there, education and experience can lead you to a job as a medical technologist or a supervisor in the lab.
The projected career growth is due to the development of new types of tests as well as nationwide population growth. For the best opportunities in the field, aspiring technicians should seek out formal training from an accredited college or vocational school.

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This article was published on 2010/10/01