What Are Some Career Options for a Medical Lab Technician?

A medical lab technician performs routine medical laboratory tests to diagnose, treat, and prevent disease. Medical lab technicians have many career options, such as working in a coroner's office, biomedical research lab, clinic, reference laboratory, blood bank, or hospital. They may also work as dental lab technicians, science technicians, or veterinary technicians. Schools offering Clinical Laboratory Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

Medical lab technicians work under the supervision of a medical technologist in laboratories operating lab instruments. Medical lab technicians, or clinical lab technicians, perform simple lab tests and laboratory procedures where they prepare test samples, like blood, bodily fluids, bacteria, and parasites. Medical lab technicians have other career options, such as work as dental lab technicians, science technicians, or veterinary technicians.

Important Facts About These Occupations

Medical/Clinical Lab TechniciansDental Lab TechniciansVeterinary Technicians
Median Salary (2018) $38,950$40,440$34,420 (veterinary technicians and technologists)
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 14% growth 14% 20% (veterinary technicians and technologists)
Entry-Level EducationCertificate or associate's degreeNo formal requirements; most have a high school diplomaAssociate's degree
CertificationGeneral or specialty certification required in some statesVoluntary Certified Dental Technician (CDT) certification available Veterinary Technician National Examination required in most states; specific requirements vary

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Dental Lab Technicians

Dental laboratory technicians work in labs and assist dentists and orthodontists. They fill prescriptions from dentists for crowns, bridges, and dentures for patients. Dental lab technicians are also responsible for making crowns, bridges, dental implants, and dentures after receiving a mold of the patient's teeth from the dentist. The dental lab technician adjusts these appliances based on the dentists' orders.

Science Technicians

Science technicians set up, maintain, and control laboratory equipment just like medical lab technicians. They calculate and record results, supervise experiments, make observations, interpret data, develop outcomes, and solve problems. Science technicians track the progress of their work with detailed data files. Science technicians usually work in research and production at manufacturing labs where they test the quality of products and evaluate the processes and ingredients of the products.

Veterinary Technicians

Veterinary technicians work with animals in labs and treat them for various medical conditions. Veterinary technicians perform lab tests, such as blood samples, tissue samples, and urinalysis in order to diagnose for the disease in an animal. Like medical lab technicians, veterinary technicians work in labs and should have a two-year associate's degree.

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