How to Become a Medical Laboratory Technician

HealthcareApril 05, 2018

Also known as clinical laboratory technicians, medical technicians, or just medical lab techs, medical laboratory technicians conduct important lab tests to help detect, diagnose and treat, or prevent, disease. Duties they perform include preparing lab specimens, doing manual testing, and operating automated analyzers.

While the duties they perform are less advanced than those conducted by lab technologists, medical lab techs can climb the ladder to become a technologist and perform more complex tasks with additional experience and education.

Jobs for medical lab techs are expected to grow in many physician offices, diagnostic laboratories and certain ambulatory clinics. So, what do you need to do in order to begin a career as a medical laboratory technician?

First, you’ll have to earn a certificate or associate degree in the field. Your studies will include liberal arts classes, science courses and clinical instruction. Since many employers prefer to hire licensed, certified lab techs, it’s generally a good idea to earn a recognized certification, such as American Medical Technologists (AMT) certification. Licensing requirements will vary, depending upon the state in which you plan to practice.

A good tip to keep in mind is to always keep your certification current. To do that, MLTs can earn continuing education credit by participating in the profession’s Certification Continuation Program, or CCP.

Once you’re certified and licensed (if need be), go ahead and apply for that first job in your new career. Good MLTs will want to advance their career options and opportunities. In addition to ongoing work experience, they can do this by pursuing supplementary education, licensure and certifications.   

Fortis offers Medical Lab Technician programs at campuses in Alabama, Louisiana, Maryland and Tennessee. Program graduates are prepared to enter the career field in a variety of entry-level positions, working in blood banking, hematology, immunology or microbiology performing duties, among others. Visit our Medical Lab Technician page to learn more and to find the campus nearest you offering Medical Lab Technician training. 

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