How Do I Become a Certified Lab Technician?

Certified laboratory technicians operate and maintain lab equipment, monitor experiments, and record the results. If you're interested in becoming a certified lab technician, you'll need to earn an associate's degree or certificate and be certified by the National Credentialing Agency for Laboratory Personnel (NCA). Schools offering Clinical Laboratory Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Duties and Responsibilities

A certified lab technician can administer tests on cells and bodily fluids or assist technologists. A certified laboratory technician uses automated and manual tools and systems to run different tests and obtain results. They are also responsible for making sure the lab equipment is functioning correctly. Many facilities need certified lab technicians on staff, including the following:

  • Hospitals
  • Private laboratories
  • Clinics
  • Public health organizations

Important Facts about Certified Lab Technicians

Median Pay (2014)$38,370 (for medical and clinical laboratory technicians)
Job Outlook (2014-2024)18% (for medical and clinical laboratory technicians)
Work EnvironmentMajority work in hospitals; may be required to work weekend, evening, overnight; may be exposed to hazardous or infectious specimens
Similar OccupationsMedical laboratory technologists, blood bank technologists, immunology technologists, biological technicians, veterinary technicians and technologists

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Educational Requirements

People interested in becoming a certified laboratory technician must complete an associate's degree or certification program from a community college or vocational school. Students can earn an Associate of Applied Science in Clinical Laboratory Science or a clinical laboratory technician degree. These programs teach students how to work with lab equipment and conduct lab tests. Students also learn about hematology, urinalysis and body fluids, immunology, clinical chemistry, lab safety techniques, and clinical microbiology. Numerous schools offer an A.A.S in Clinical Laboratory Science program.

Certification and Licensing

To become a certified laboratory technician, students must take a nationally recognized certification exam from the National Credentialing Agency for Laboratory Personnel (www.naacls.org). The NCA offers information on test preparation and study materials for the exam. Once students obtain certification, their employment opportunities can increase.

Some states require certified laboratory technicians to have a license or be registered in that state, reports the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov). Certified lab technicians should research licensing requirements in the state where they wish to work. Each state's health department has the most up-to-date licensing information for that state.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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  • Kaplan University

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    • Maryland: Online Campus, Baltimore, Hyattsville
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  • Keiser University

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