What Does a Medical Lab Technician Do?

HealthcareNovember 09, 2016

Certified medical lab technicians are responsible for collecting, testing and evaluating the results of doctor-ordered samples for diseases and other health problems. They typically find jobs in hospitals, laboratories, physician’s offices and universities.

Medical lab techs generally work under medical laboratory technologists in clinical labs, using analytical and diagnostic equipment, such as microscopes. Some interact directly with patients by drawing samples. The responsibilities of a medical lab technician include, but are not limited to, obtaining samples, sterilizing and assisting medical personnel with equipment, observing patients’ vital signs, recording data, and testing for specific markers in samples.

Characteristics of a Medical Lab Technician

Medical lab technicians need to be compassionate when interacting directly with patients, who may have fears and phobias of certain procedures, such as drawing blood samples. In addition, medical lab technicians need to be highly accurate when testing samples and reviewing results as these are very important for correctly diagnosing patients.

Becoming a Medical Lab Technician

According to, the educational path to become a certified medical lab technician includes completing a certification, associate’s or bachelor’s degree program with curricula specific to laboratory science. The programs usually include clinical practice or internships where students learn about different areas such as urinalysis and clinical chemistry.

Additionally, some states require licensing or registration requirements in order to work in a laboratory, which usually require certain educational standards be met along with passing a state-specific exam.

According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for medical lab technicians (in 2015) was $50,550 per year ($24.30 per hour). The number of jobs in the field numbers more than 328,200 and the outlook for job growth across the profession through 2024 is forecast to be 16 percent, which is higher than the average for most jobs.

Everyone needs doctor-ordered samples to be diagnosed at some point in their life, right? A career as a medical lab technician is a good choice because it has the outlook to continue to be a needed and growing profession. The medical lab technician program at Fortis prepares students for entry-level jobs in the field.

Learn more about how you can get started and train to become a medical lab technician with a program from Fortis

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