Lab Technician

Earnings Potential

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for lab technicians is $30,800 a year. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $20,000, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $63,120 a year. Technicians who work in medical and surgical hospitals make an average of $31,800, while technicians in colleges, universities, and profession schools make an average of $32,400 a year.

Facts at a glance

  • Faster than average employment growth is expected as the volume of laboratory tests continues to increase with both population growth and the development of new types of tests.
  • Clinical laboratory technologists usually have a bachelor’s degree with a major in medical technology or in one of the life sciences; clinical laboratory technicians generally need either an associate degree or a certificate.
  • Job opportunities are expected to be excellent.

Summary of what this career entails

Clinical laboratory personnel examine and analyze body fluids, and cells. They look for bacteria, parasites, and other microorganisms; analyze the chemical content of fluids; match blood for transfusions; and test for drug levels in the blood to show how a patient is responding to treatment. Technologists also prepare specimens for examination, count cells, and look for abnormal cells in blood and body fluids. They use automated equipment and computerized instruments capable of performing a number of tests simultaneously, as well as microscopes, cell counters, and other sophisticated laboratory equipment. Then they analyze the results and relay them to physicians. With increasing automation and the use of computer technology, the work of technologists and technicians has become less hands-on and more analytical.

Examples and or details of work

Clinical laboratory technologists examine blood and other bodily fluids and also perform microscopic, chemical, biological tests. Clinical laboratory technicians perform less complicated tests laboratory procedures.

Degrees that lead to this career

The minimal degree an individual can receive is an associate’s. Some of the degrees individuals can attain include:

  • A.A.S. in Laboratory Technician
  • A.A.S. in Medical Laboratory Technician
  • B.S. in Clinical Laboratory Science
  • B.S. in Health Sciences
  • M.S. in  Health Sciences- Clinical Laboratory Sciences Track
  • PhD in Health Sciences

Specific Career openings in this field

Some of the positions available for individuals that want a career as a lab technician are clinical laboratory technicians and clinical laboratory technologists.

References

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2006-07 Edition, Clinical Laboratory Technologists and Technicians, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos096.htm

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