Have you ever been to a medical lab and had your blood sample taken for analysis? Do you wonder how a small sample helps physicians diagnose serious conditions? Well, the answer lies with lab staff and more importantly, the medical laboratory technicians.
Many might not know, but being a medical laboratory technician is quite a rewarding profession. From a positive job outlook to an indirect role in patient care – here’s an insight into the duties, salary, and scope of being a medical laboratory technician. The blog will also help you find the best medical laboratory technician jobs.
What is a Medical Laboratory Technician?
A medical or clinical laboratory technician uses lab equipment to prepare, test, or run different procedures on human tissues and blood samples. They do so to diagnose a disease or other medical conditions.
What are Your Duties as a Medical Laboratory Technician?
As a Medical Laboratory Technician, you have an essential responsibility to care for patients and aid in diagnosing, treating, and preventing diseases. Some of your key duties/responsibilities are listed below:
- Preparing lab equipment and ensuring a clean and safe work environment
- Collecting, and preparing specimens for analysis
- Using computerized laboratory instruments and automated equipment to run several tests
- Knowing different tests and procedures for multiple symptoms
- Testing biological specimens to gather vital information about the patient’s condition
- Conducting biological and chemical analyses of body fluids
- Ensure consistency, reliability, and usefulness of the tests through standardized test procedures
- Preparing standard solutions and lab reagents for tests
- Using appropriate laboratory equipment to analyze laboratory specimens
- Carefully analyzing medical samples to detect any presence of diseases
- Using an automatic analyzer or microscope to detect abnormalities in the specimens
- Professionally explaining test procedures to patients
- Keeping an accurate record of patients’ test results
- Maintaining, cleaning, and testing the sterility of medical laboratory equipment
- Carefully examining and approving samples from other professionals
- Showing test results to physicians
How much will you get paid?
It all depends on your education, skill set, and experience as a medical laboratory technician. But to give you an idea, the median wage for this job is $27.79 hourly, and $57,800 annually, which can also rise to $61,000 if you exhibit excellent attention to detail. Employment for lab technicians is expected to grow in the next ten years, so if you are interested in this line of work, now is the time.
Furthermore, the sector you choose to work for also affects the different salary ranges. Medical Laboratory Technicians who work in the public health sector receive more salary than those working in the private health sector. Other benefits of this job include a flexible spending account, parental leave, paid leave, and a health savings account.
Scope for career growth as a Medical Laboratory Technician
Have you ever heard the saying, “when you stop growing you start dying”? It might feel a little dramatic, but it does have a point. If you don’t develop a growth mindset and step out of your comfort zone, you will end up feeling stuck in life.
With medical lab technicians in high demand, there is plenty of scope for professional development in this line of work. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there is a present scarcity of Lab technicians in many parts of the country. Hence, that provides numerous job openings and good pay, especially for educated and skilled technicians.
The population is constantly rising, and various kinds of diseases are emerging through the surface. Therefore, there is an eminent need for Medical Lab Technicians who can handle new types of laboratory equipment and carry out several laboratory assessments. Furthermore, through skilled training, you can also opt for specialization and enhance your career.
Medical Laboratory Technician Jobs in the USA
You can find the best medical laboratory technician jobs and other healthcare jobs in the USA. There are several job opportunities that you can apply for if you are living in the US. Let us familiarize you with a few of them.
As an electroencephalographic (EEG) technician, you use specialized equipment to monitor and measure a patient’s brain and nervous system activity. Under the supervision of a neurologist, you can detect brain damage or disorders through this process.
If you enjoy working in a dynamic and challenging environment, then this is the job for you. An ultrasound technician helps other health professionals to diagnose patients’ ailments. They use different sonographic equipment that uses high-frequency sound waves to capture images of the internal organs. Moreover, you can specialize in various kinds of sonography while doing your job.
You might have gone to a hospital or clinic and gotten your blood samples taken for analysis. Did you ever wonder who those technicians are? They are phlebotomists who draw blood for further testing and diagnosis.
Medical Equipment Technician
If you like working with machines and have an ick for repairing broken objects, then this lab technician job is best for you. Medical Equipment Technicians maintain and repair machinery and tools used in laboratory settings.
Some people are very passionate about aircraft, and when it includes helping people, who would not want to take that opportunity? A flight paramedic is a highly trained professional who works in an aeromedical to help patients.
As the name suggests, the dialysis technician administers the dialysis procedure. They work under supervision and usually cater to patients with diabetes.
Electrocardiograph (EKG) technicians are professionals who administer tests and monitor the cardiovascular health of patients.
A behavior technician works with a behavior analyst to help patients with behavioral problems. These include substance abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder, sudden outbursts of anger, and many more.
The medical professionals responsible for determining abnormalities in breast tissues are known as mammography technologists. They play a vital role in detecting cancerous cells in their patients.
A clinical informaticist builds and teaches user interface to healthcare organization staff. They develop and implement plans to improve patient records management systems and bridge the communication between health professionals and other stakeholders.
- Psychiatric Technicians
If you are passionate about psychological health with physical health then this job is perfect for you. As a psychiatric technician, you work with patients with mental illnesses or any other psychiatric disorders.
Now that you know quite a few medical laboratory technician jobs, you can opt for any one of them that suits your skill set and education. Furthermore, when you are good at something, work hard and smart towards it, and eventually, you will succeed. Not only will it pay well, but also provide you with the satisfaction of achieving your goals. Whether you choose to be a medical laboratory technician or any other healthcare professional, be mindful of all the pros and cons of that field and decide wisely.