Years of School
A Medical laboratory technician is a healthcare professional that help medical technologist in the collection of specimens from patients and in performing tests on body fluids e.g. blood, cells e.g. white blood cells and other substances of the body.
They work in the laboratories in the hospital, reference laboratories and biotechnology laboratories.
The Medical Technician works in assistance of the Medical Technologist in collection of specimens from patients and in running various tests.
Such tests would include analysis of body fluids, tissues e.g. liver tissue and other body substances.
Mostly, the Technician works under the supervision of the Medical Technologist, however the technician can independently run simpler tests and procedures.
In some cases the Medical Technologist require the assistance of the Technician.
Medical laboratory technician duties:
A Medical Laboratory Technician is responsible for a variety of tasks.
They most often include:
- Assist the Medical Technologist in collection and analysis of specimens e.g. body fluids.
- Helps in cross matching blood for transfusion.
- Assist the Medical Technologist in entering the data in the patient’s medical record.
- Assist Medical Technologist in analysis of laboratory results.
|Hospitals; state, local, and private||43%|
|Medical and diagnostic laboratories||18%|
|Offices of physicians||12%|
|Colleges, universities, and professional schools; state, local, and private||6%|
|Outpatient care centers||5%|
According to the national statistics from the labor department, the national median salary for medical laboratory technicians stand at $50,151.
The highest paid 10% receives a salary of slightly above $59,570 while the median salary of the lowest paid technicians is just above $40,139.
However, several factors are known to influence the salary.
Among others they include the work environment and the type of medical technician one is.
For example, those employed by the federal government earns the highest, with a median salary of about $54,170.
Those employed by hospitals receive a median salary of $50,094 while those in the private offices of physicians receive a median salary of $48,630.
The medical technicians at the medical and diagnostic laboratories are the least paid a median salary of slightly above $44,520.
The specialty has a role on the salary a medical technician receives e.g. a histology technician receives a relatively higher salary compared to cytotechnician.
Average Annual Salary by State
|State||Avg. Annual Salary|
Medical Technology Programs are offered at different levels.
You can pursue an associate’s degree, a bachelor’s degree or certificate program.
An associate’s degree holder becomes a Medical Laboratory Technician.
And the associate’s degree program is a two year program.
Anyone pursuing a 4 years bachelor’s degree program becomes a medical technologist.
One must complete a 2 years associate’s degree program to become a medical technician.
The program includes the clinical laboratory science courses.
The medical laboratory technicians will acquire both theoretical and practical aspects of the laboratory disciplines.
A medical laboratory technician with a degree in health related sciences will only need a one year certificate program, instead of an associate’s degree, to be a MLT.
Various hospitals and vacationland training institutions have been accredited to offer such certificate programs.
Here are some of the institutions which offer medical technology studies:
- Tarrant county college District
- Valencia Community College
- Salk Lake community college
- College of southern Nevada
- Portland Community College
- St. Petersburg Community College
How to Become a Medical Laboratory Technician
The first step towards becoming a Medical Laboratory Technician is earning an associate’s degree or post-secondary certificate in medical laboratory.
Some hospitals are also offering a training program for the occupation that runs for one year.
High school background in sciences e.g. Biology and Chemistry is necessary.
Mathematics is also a necessity as its practice might involve working out statistical data.
You may focus on hematology and coagulation, urinalysis, clinical Chemistry etc.
The program focuses much on laboratory procedures, laboratory equipment operation, and laboratory testing among others.
On completion of the program, the American Society of clinical pathology offers a certification for the course.
On passing the exams, a medical laboratory technician is given a certification a can now use the title MLT.
The test consist of 100 multiple choice questions and is administered at a cost of $200.
Certification & Licensing
It is a requirement that Medical Laboratory Technicians go for licensing in some states and not a requirement in others.
The local state Board of health provides information to individuals on the need and the requirements for licensing.
Certification of medical laboratory technicians is also a requirement in some states while not in others.
However, is important to note that employers, even in the state that doesn’t require certification, prefer medical laboratory technicians with certification.
The Medical Laboratory Technicians can be receive certification to practice as general Technicians or certified in a specific field e.g. phlebotomy.
The American Society of clinical pathology offers the certification for the Medical Laboratory Technicians after completion of the course program.
An exam is administered to them, after which a certification is given or given based on whether you were able to pass or fail the exam.
The overall employment of medical laboratory technicians is projected to grow by about 13% over the next decade.
This is within the average projected rate of growth for other medical occupations.
There is an estimated growth of 42,700 jobs by 2026 from 2016’s 335,700.