How to Become a Medical Lab Technician

Medical Lab Technicians have a very important job in a medical lab facility because their work helps with the diagnosis and treatment of disease.

They use their attention to detail and organizational skills to perform lab work that helps Doctors and Pathologists determine a patient’s diagnosis.

They clarify a diagnosis by running a variety of tests on blood and tissues samples and analyze their composition to find aspects of disease.

Using the diagnostic information they find, doctors will be able to establish a course of treatment for the ailing patient.

Also referred to Clinical Laboratory Technicians, they may work under a Pathologist or a Clinical Laboratory Specialist.

Medical Lab Technicians may work in hospitals, a physician’s office or diagnostic labs.

Someone who wants to become a Medical Lab Technician should expect to work under demanding circumstances and provide results under a limited amount of time.

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Medical Lab Technicians can follow several specializations under this role and can provide focused work on the following: Blood banking, Microbiology, Immunology, Hematology, Chemistry.

Related roles for Medical Lab Technicians that require more education include:

  • Medical Lab Technologists
  • Pathologist
  • Clinical Laboratory Specialist

Education Requirements to Become a Medical Lab Technician

There are several ways someone can become a Medical Lab Technician.

A candidate should have a high school degree and can begin their path to become a Medical Lab Technician while still attending school.

They should have a strong background in Mathematics and science courses such as Biology.

Once someone has their high school diploma, they need to enroll in a community or junior college to begin their coursework for an Associate’s degree.

A candidate will need to acquire an Associate’s Degree as Medical Laboratory Technician and prepare for the workforce by taking clinical training under the program.

After completing the Associate’s Program, candidates should take a certification exam in order to get licensed to work as a Medical Lab Technician.

Another way a candidate can become a Medical Lab Technician is by taking a certification program from a vocational or technical school.

Future Medical Lab Technicians need to learn the basics on how to use complex lab equipment, the safety precautions used in a medical lab and how to handle important biopsy samples and blood work.

Finally, all candidates need national certification from a distinguished professional organization in order to become a Medical Lab Technician.

They can seek licensure from the following organizations:

American Society of Clinical Pathologists (ASCP) visit:
National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS) visit:

Medical Lab Technician Job Description

A Medical Lab Technician’s job is to perform procedures that help diagnose and discover medical illnesses and diseases so that a treatment can be developed for an ailing patient.

The following list includes examples of some responsibilities a Medical Lab Technician may have.

  • Follow lab procedures to promote safety in the lab environment
  • Perform lab testing on bodily fluids and tissues including: blood, urine, and biopsy samples taken from a patient
  • Use medical instruments such as microscopes, chemical analyzers, computer equipment and other complex laboratory equipment
  • Work under time constraints and provide accurate test results
  • Discuss lab results with other medical professionals
  • Take care of lab equipment
  • Keep laboratory work and patient records organized

Medical Lab Technician Salary and Career Path

Salary for Medical Lab Technicians depends on location and whether they work for a private doctor’s office or for a public entity such as a hospital.

The starting wage for a Medical Lab Technician on average begins at approximately $24,000 annually.

The range ends at $38,000 per year for experienced Medical Lab Technicians with an average of about $32,000 for the majority of employees.

Employment outlook for the medical industry is expected to grow at a fast pace throughout the next decade.

Some attribute this growth to an aging baby boomer population as well as technological advances in the medical field.

Wherever the growth comes from, a candidate seeking a career path as a Medical Lab Technician should expect to work in a healthy industry and have a steady job outlook for at least the coming decade.

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