What Does a Clinical Lab Technician Do?

A clinical lab technician performs simple laboratory tests and procedures under the supervision of a clinical lab technologist. Here, you'll find more information on the career duties of a clinical lab technician, work environment, and educational requirements. Schools offering Clinical Laboratory Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Job Description

Clinical laboratory technicians, also known as medical lab technicians, do simple lab tests and procedures, such as examining and analyzing tissue samples and body fluids. Lab tests performed by such technicians look for bacteria, microorganisms, abnormal cells, or other signs of infection or disease.

Clinical lab technicians operate laboratory equipment to run tests. They also conduct lab tests without the use of equipment by following detailed directions. Technicians prepare samples for the tests they run and may prepare samples for more complex lab tests run by a specialist or lab technologist.

Some clinical lab technicians specialize in a particular type of test, working only with blood samples, for instance. All technicians must be accurate in their work and able to communicate clearly with their supervisors.

Important Facts About Clinical Lab Technicians

On-the-Job Training Training and work experience required for specializations
Key Skills Technologically savvy, attention to detail, manual dexterity, physically fit
Professional Certification Not required, but available through accredited organizations
Similar Occupations Biological technicians, chemical technicians, chemists, material scientists, veterinary technologists and technicians

Work Environment

There were approximately 160,460 medical and clinical lab technicians in the U.S., as of May 2014, reports the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov). The majority of lab technicians work in hospitals. Technicians may also find employment in doctor's offices, diagnostic laboratory facilities, or universities. Large hospitals and laboratories that operate around the clock require clinical lab technicians to work all shifts. The BLS predicts that the employment of all types of clinical laboratory technologists and technicians should grow by about 22% between 2012 and 2022.

Educational Requirements

Entry-level clinical lab technicians should have an associate's degree. Those interested in training for the career should enroll in a community college that offers an associate's degree program for clinical lab technicians accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). Schools accredited by the NAACLS include:

  • Community College of Baltimore County
  • Miami Dade College
  • Illinois Central College

Individual states may require lab technicians to be licensed or registered. Taking the national certification exam from the Board of Registry of the American Society for Clinical Pathology also demonstrates an individual's proficiency.

Salary Information

According to the BLS, the median annual salary earned by medical and clinical lab technicians was $38,370 in May 2014. PayScale.com indicated that as recently as September 2015, the majority of such technicians earn between $25,623 and $50,234 a year.

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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Popular Schools

  • The George Washington University

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    Popular programs at The George Washington University:

    • Master
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    Popular programs at Capella University:

    • Master

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    Popular programs at Purdue University Global:

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  • Fortis College

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    • Certificates

    Campus Locations:

    • Maryland: Towson
  • Regent University

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  • Southern New Hampshire University

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  • Northcentral University

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  • Keiser University

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