Hematology Technician: Career and Salary Facts

Research what it takes to become a medical laboratory technician in the hematology field. Learn about the education requirements, growth projections and salary potential to find out if this is the career for you Schools offering Clinical Laboratory Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Hematology Technician?

Hematology technicians are medical laboratory technicians who specialize in the testing and analysis of blood samples. Under the supervision of medical laboratory technologists, they run experiments on blood samples and write reports based on their findings. Their results can be used by physicians to diagnose various diseases and abnormalities, or by medical researchers to better understand a particular health condition.

The following table provides information for this career.

Degree Required Associate's degree
Education Field of Study Medical laboratory technology, biology or chemistry
Key Responsibilities Collect, analyze & test blood samples for various diseases or abnormalities, administer blood transfusions, work with computers & lab equipment
Certification Professional certification from the American Society for Clinical Pathology (recommended)
Job Growth (2014-24) 18% (for medical and clinical laboratory technicians)*
Average Salary (2015) $41,420 (for medical and clinical laboratory technicians)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Would I Do as a Hematology Technician?

As a hematology technician, you will be responsible for collecting blood samples from patients, analyzing the blood and relaying the results to a medical team. You will also work in a laboratory with other bodily fluids and tissues, so your attention to detail is paramount to maintaining a sterile environment and avoiding contamination. You may also administer blood transfusions, matching blood types from medical history forms or from your own analysis. You need to be familiar with computers because much of the laboratory equipment is automated and medical files are increasingly electronic.

What Education Will I Need?

Because of the specialized nature of laboratory work, most medical lab technicians have an associate's degree. The National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences accredits various programs for medical lab personnel, including associate's degree programs in medical laboratory technology (www.naacls.org).

In a 2-year program, you would learn the basics of biology and chemistry as well as clinical techniques. Some programs may offer phlebotomy or hematology courses in the core curriculum or as a choice for a specialized elective.

How Can I Advance My Career?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes that many employers prefer to hire lab personnel with credentials, so you may choose to seek a professional certification (www.bls.gov). The American Society for Clinical Pathology offers certifications for medical laboratory professionals including a designation for hematology technologists. American Medical Technologists offers medical lab technician certification as well as the registered phlebotomy technician designation. After becoming a technician, you may wish to advance to the technologist level so that you can perform more duties. This usually involves more training, clinical experience and a certification.

What Is the Salary and Job Outlook?

According to the BLS, employment for medical and clinical laboratory technicians, a group that includes hematology technicians, is expected to increase by 18% between 2014 and 2024. This may be due to a growing elderly population and an increase in health insurance coverage. The BLS also reported in May 2015 that medical and clinical laboratory technicians earned an average annual salary of $41,420.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

As a medical laboratory technician, you could choose to specialize in an area other than hematology. For instance, you could get a job as histotechnician, in which your work would primarily involve the cutting and staining of tissue samples. Another option to consider if you are interested in supporting doctors in patient diagnosis is a job as a diagnostic medical sonographer. This job involves using ultrasound technology to create images that physicians can use to identify illnesses and injuries. Diagnostic medical sonographers usually need to complete an associate's degree or postsecondary certificate program in order to get a job.

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