Medical Laboratory Technician Programs and Certification

Medical laboratory technicians, also known as clinical laboratory technicians, or medical technicians, perform important lab tests that help detect, diagnose, and help treat and prevent disease. Clinical lab technicians perform less advanced duties than a lab technologist. Some duties include preparing lab specimens, doing manual tests, or operating automated analyzers. They generally work under the supervision of a technician. They can work in different areas or specialize, such as in phlebotomy, or collecting blood samples, for example. Medical laboratory technicians can work in a large hospital, clinic, or privately run labs. They may at times have to work in shifts, so that labs can be run continuously. If you need irregular or flexible hours, that is possible in this field with certain employers.

Is Medical Laboratory Technician Training & Certification Required?

While clinical lab technologists require a bachelor’s degree, a medical lab technician usually only needs an associate degree, or a certificate from a hospital program. The National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS) is responsible for accrediting the technician programs offered at vocational and community colleges or at hospitals. Once you complete your associate degree, consider certification. Voluntary certification as an MLT (medical laboratory technician ) is possible through the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP). Eligibility requirements include obtaining an associate degree from an NAACLS accredited medical lab technician training program within the last five years, or an associate degree that includes 6 semester hours of chemistry and 6 semester hours of biology, and some lab training or lab work experience. Licensure requirements will vary by state. Some states require licensing and registration, and some do not. Employers often prefer certification, and obtaining the MLT status will certainly make you more qualified and competitive.

Medical Laboratory Technician Salary & Job Outlook

Technicians can advance to become technologists, performing more complex lab tasks with more experience and education. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for a medical alb technician was $36,030 in 2009. Clinical lab jobs are projected to grow 14% through 2018, according to the BLS. As new tests are continuously developed, the number of lab tests performed will continue to increase. Jobs are expected to grow in particular in physician offices, diagnostic laboratories and other ambulatory clinics. This could be a great career option for you in a rapidly expanding healthcare industry. Consider joining a professional organization, such as the American Medical Technologists (AMT) for more info on becoming a lab technician. Next you can explore your educational options and plan your route to graduation, certification, and employment.

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