Steps to a Clinical Laboratory Technician Career

Clinical laboratory technicians and technologists are entry level scientists. You can become a clinical laboratory technician at any stage in life, but you’re at an advantage if you start preparing early.

  1. Take plenty of lab classes in high school. Focus on writing reports and communicating lab findings.

  2. Also do some basic career exploration. Resources include Area Health Education Centers and local hospitals. Some medical centers have formal programs for volunteering and job shadowing.

  3. Begin researching college programs. Medical laboratory technicians generally have degrees at the associate’s level while technologists have baccalaureate degrees. Your degree does not necessarily have to be in laboratory science or technology though this will be the easiest route if you’re sure of your career choice. It is also an option to complete a degree in another subject and do a certificate program later. You will want to select a course of study that is rich in math and science courses, however. You may want to visit the site of the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) and the American Medical Technologists (AMT) to find out about alternative routes for certification.

  4. Make professional contacts while still in school. You can become a member of the ASCP at no charge while enrolled in an accredited program. The American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science (ASCLS) also offers a discounted rate ($25) for students in clinical laboratory science programs.

  5. Apply for certification and (if applicable) state licensing.

  6. Look for employment. The ASCP has an online career center. You can post your resume and search and save job ads. You will also find career resources on the site of the ASCLS. You can search for jobs on state workforce sites and general job search sites like According to the ASCLS, though, the process of building a career is about who you know, not just what you know. Networking can help.

Personality Traits: According to the BLS, employers look for problem solving skills and an ability to work under pressure.