Are you passionate about helping people but want to stay away from the limelight? Then a career as a medical laboratory technician is the right fit for you. If you do not have enough knowledge about this profession, then keep reading, and you will find your queries answered.
What is a Medical Laboratory Technician?
A medical laboratory technician facilitates patient diagnosis through routine laboratory tests. These include collecting medical samples like blood or tissue and then running diagnostic tests to assist physicians to diagnose, treat and prevent diseases. Hence, if you pursue a career as a medical lab technician, you will be responsible for carrying out these duties and much more.
Furthermore, this field will provide you with a wide range of Medical Laboratory Technician Jobs in United States. In this blog, we will guide you toward different medical lab technician jobs and their scope in the future years to come.
Medical laboratory Technician: Jobs and Scope
There are various medical/clinical laboratory technician job opportunities. You can select one or more based on your interests. To give you an idea we have listed some of them below:
Are you a crime show lover and often get curious about how forensic experts handle microscopic evidence? Then a histotechnician is the best job for you.
They study the anatomy of plants and animal cells under light and electron microscopes. They prepare thin samples of bodily tissues by cutting the tissue and staining them with various dyes. Through this, pathologists can detect abnormalities and provide appropriate testing for tissue samples to ensure a
proper diagnosis. The Histotechnician is tasked with detecting cancer and other pathological conditions as well.
Pathologist assistants are trained professionals who provide services much similar to that of a histotechnician. They perform the surgical and autopsy functions of a pathologist. Under direct supervision, they prepare human postmortem reports and procure samples for biospecimen banking. They also train fellow assistants and check if their work is up to mark.
Laboratory specialists who work under supervision, and study chromosomal abnormalities by analyzing them. They learn about the relationship between genetics and health, fertility issues, and blood disorders. They prepare reports to assist doctors in the diagnosis and treatment of patients.
Nuclear medicine technologists
Nuclear medicine technologists work with different healthcare professionals to prepare and give small doses of radioactive drugs to patients. They also explain procedures to patients, set up appointments, analyze various specimens and capture images for physicians who will use them for diagnostic purposes.
Like humans, animals need healthcare professionals too. While taking care of animals, veterinary technicians carry out several other tasks too. They act as patient advocates, anesthesia technicians, surgery technicians, and much more.
Anesthesia technicians have a role in all stages of anesthesia during surgery and other minor procedures. Before administering anesthesia, the AT will keep checks on patients’ vitals and ensure the correct dosage. The AT monitors the airway to secure the patient from any harm. They clean and test machines while preparing drugs and instruments for the procedure. There is a greater-than-average growth in the number of job openings for ATs expected over the next ten years.
These professionals help invent and improve different products by using the theories and principles of science. Also, they monitor and ensure that research and projects run smoothly while setting up and operating several kinds of lab equipment. Moreover, they work alongside scientists in numerous fields, like chemical, nuclear, biological, forensic, and others. Their job duties might differ from one another, but the groundwork remains the same.
Radiation protection technician
While working as a radiation protection technician, you must monitor radiological emissions and exposure. You will use a series of technological equipment to minimize risk and the effects of radiation leaks. However, keep in mind that working around a nuclear power plant is incredibly risky for the human body.
Travel medical laboratory technician
A travel medical laboratory technician has the same responsibilities as a medical lab tech who works for a facility like a hospital. They sanitize and set up laboratory equipment, collect blood samples and analyze chemical content. Instead of working as permanent staff members, they work with recruiters at different healthcare travel companies. The recruiters assign them to various locations around the country.
The settings for each job will be different but somewhat have certain similarities to each other. Some of the settings include a biomedical research lab, dental laboratory, reference laboratory, hospitals, blood banks, and clinics, depending on the type of job you have applied for.
Medical laboratory technician: Expected growth
If you are a professional medical lab technician, or you want to pursue this field, then you can be assured that it will not only benefit the people around you but will ensure a good source of income for you in the coming years.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the next ten years seem promising for this line of work, which is faster than average. In May 2020, BLS reported that the median annual wage for professionals in this field was $54,180 and the results of ASCP’s 2013 wage survey showed that the medical and clinical laboratory technicians earned more than non-certified staff. The highest-paying states for this job include New York, Connecticut, California, Oregon, and Rhode Island. Approximately 30,000 new job openings for medical laboratory technicians are expected each year for the next ten years.
How do I become a Medical Laboratory Technician?
Once you decide to be a medical lab technician, there are some steps you will have to climb to become a professional in the job. Here are some requirements:
Get a degree
Firstly, you will need an associate degree in numerous programs, which include lab experience and clinical rotations. Furthermore, it is essential to ensure that the degree is accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS).
However, if you want to move up within the laboratory, then a relevant bachelor’s or master’s degree will be preferred. And the good news is these programs finish in just two years and cover comprehensive study courses with the correct exposure to laboratory settings.
Take the ASCP certification exam
The next step would be taking a certification exam, which most employers require during recruitment. American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) certification is widely recognized and highly regarded in the field. Think of this as a pilot’s license, proof that you can do your job and excel at it.
Get a license
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that some areas in the US might require medical lab technicians to get a license. However, it is necessary to check the laws and procedures required in your area.
Additional experience and skills
Learning new skills is never a bad idea. You will have a higher chance of progress if you get additional experience from renowned institutes and enhance your skills.
To conclude, numerous healthcare jobs in the United States pay well and fulfill your need to help your community. Whatever you choose, remember to keep both your mind and your heart focused on it. Your career shapes your life, and you do not want to be stuck in a position you despise. If you choose to be a medical laboratory technician, do a thorough search on the advantages and disadvantages of this profession, to avoid any regrets later.