Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technician

What Does a Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technician Do?
Medical and clinical laboratory technicians are responsible for analyzing the samples that are sent to them from health care facilities. They check samples for a number of things, including parasites, bacteria, microorganisms, and other abnormalities. Their analysis often leads to a definite diagnosis from the physician, as the finds of a medical and clinical laboratory technician are hard evidence of pathogens or other ailments. Technicians may also check the chemical content of bodily fluids, such as in drug testing, test a patient’s blood content to see how a treatment is progressing, and match blood types for transfusions. Advancements in medical technology has allowed for medical and clinical laboratory technicians to focus less on the tactile skills required for handling the samples and more on deep analysis of the samples. Although a technician does not perform duties as complex as a clinical technologist does, they still are responsible for handling many of the samples received.

What Is the Employment and Salary Outlook for a Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technician?
The health care field as a whole is one of the most stable and prosperous industries in the job market today, as there will always be a need for health care professionals. This continual need is due to the complexity of human health, the unpredictability of disease and injury, and the inevitability of aging and aging-related conditions. In particular, major advancements in medical technology have allowed physicians to diagnose and treat many more conditions. The work of skilled medical and clinical laboratory technicians is more in demand than ever with this increase in treatable cases. Employment opportunities for medical and clinical laboratory technicians are expected to increase 16 percent through 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In addition to the growth in demand due to the rising population, new openings for technicians will also arise as current technicians leave their positions for advancement, other career pursuits, or retirement. Medical and clinical laboratory technicians earn an average salary of $35,380, according to the most current data available from the Bureau.

How Can I Become a Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technician?
Aspiring medical and clinical laboratory technicians must first earn an associate degree from an accredited clinical laboratory technician program. An associate degree program typically takes about two years to complete, during which time students take courses in biology, chemistry, computer skills, and other classes that are designed to prepare them for a successful future working in a medical laboratory. Students also take classes that help them to understand how to use and maintain the complex medical equipment, especially since the field has become much more dependent on computer technology rather than manual analysis. Upon graduation, aspiring technicians should seek licensure and certification, as most states require that technicians be licensed, and most employers prefer those who are certified as well. There are various agencies that can provide certification to technicians, including the National Credentialing Agency for Laboratory Personnel and the Board of Registry of the American Society for Clinical Pathology.