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Medical Lab Technician Training and Schools

Are you interested in working in the healthcare field? Do you want a career that enables you to help others? Learn what a medical lab technician does and the lab technician trainings you need to join the field.

Medical laboratory technicians, also known as medical lab technologists or clinical lab technicians or technologists, examine and analyze body fluids and cells using sophisticated laboratory equipment such as microscopes and cell counters. They perform drug tests, match blood for transfusions, and look for bacteria or parasites. After testing and examining a specimen, they analyze the results and relay them to physicians.

Medical Lab Technician Careers

Medical laboratory technologists usually perform more complex tasks than technicians, and have a higher level of education. However, a position as a medical lab technician requires less training. Some medical lab technicians specialize in a certain area, like phlebotomy. A phlebotomist is a lab technician who collects blood samples for analysis.

A medical lab technician might work at an independent laboratory, or one in a hospital. In larger facilities, lab staff must cover day, evening and night shifts, and may work weekends and/or holidays. In smaller facilities, they may rotate shifts, or be on call at night or on weekends for emergencies.

Laboratories tend to be clean, well-lighted work environments.  Although fumes from chemical solutions and infectious specimens will be present, clinical lab staff use protective gear such as masks, gloves and goggles, and follow procedures for infection control and sterilization that keep risks at a minimum. In addition, personnel tend to spend a lot of time on their feet.

Launching a Lab Technician Career - Education and Training

Lab technicians and technologists play an important role in the health field. Although it is possible to qualify for some positions with a combination of education and on-the-job training, a degree or certificate in the field will prove advantageous when searching for work.

Educational requirements

To become a lab technician you’ll need an associate degree from a community or junior college or a certificate from a hospital, a vocational or technical school, or the Armed Forces. Medical lab technologists, on the other hand, typically need a bachelor’s degree in medical technology or in one of the life sciences.

The National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS) recognizes and accredits 469 programs throughout the country training medical and clinical laboratory technicians and technologists. Programs typically last one to two years and include coursework in mathematics, chemistry, microbiology, pathology and immunology. The NAACLS also approves 57 phlebotomist programs.

Many employers require that their clinical lab technicians and technologists hold certification. The American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) as well as the American Medical Technologist (AMT) offer national certification testing, and bestow the title of Certified Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT). In addition, some states require laboratory personnel to be licensed or registered – requirements vary.

Employment Opportunities for Lab Technicians

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that future job opportunities for lab technicians will be excellent, with 14 percent growth between 2008 and 2018. Population growth and the development of new types of tests is expected to drive an increase in laboratory tests, and thus the need for lab technicians.

Hospitals, which employed more than half of lab technicians in 2008, are expected to continue to be the major employer of clinical laboratory workers. However, employment is expected also to grow rapidly in medical and diagnostic laboratories, offices of physicians, and all other ambulatory healthcare services.

Lab Technician Salaries and Advancement Potential

The average annual salary for medical lab technicians was $38,190 in 2010, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Medical lab technologists earned an average of $56,870.

Professional certification and a graduate degree in medical technology, one of the biological sciences, chemistry, management, or education usually speeds advancement, as does experience. Technicians can become technologists, and technologists can move on to supervisory positions such as chief medical laboratory technologist or laboratory manager in a hospital. Federal regulations require directors of moderately complex laboratories to have at least a bachelor's degree, although a master’s degree may be favored by employers, combined with the appropriate amount of training and experience. A doctorate usually is needed to become a laboratory director.

Additional Resources for Individuals Enrolling in a Medical Technician Program
American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science
The National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Science

Campus and Online Medical Technician Schools

 
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Fortis Institute

[Campus]
Programs:
  • ECG/Phlebotomy/Lab Assistant
  • Medical Laboratory Technology
  • Medical Assistant
Quick Summary:

At Fortis Institute, you may get the skills and training you need to prepare for a career.

* Programs vary by location

* Please contact each individual campus for accreditation information

Please call on  844-252-4552 to talk to a respresentative.


Rasmussen College

[Campus]
Programs:
  • Medical Laboratory Technician Associate's
  • Medical Administrative Assistant Certificate
  • Medical Assisting Diploma
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Further your education and strengthen your skill set at Rasmussen College


Argosy University

[Campus]
Programs:
  • Medical Laboratory Technology (AS)
  • Histotechnology (AAS)
Quick Summary:

Welcome to Argosy University

Argosy University offers doctoral, master's, and bachelor's degree programs to students through its eight colleges:  College of Behavioral Sciences, Graduate School of Business and Management, College of Education,  College of Health Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Creative Arts and Design, College of Clinical Psychology and Western State College of Law at Argosy University as well as certificate programs in many areas.


Keiser University Campus

[Campus]
Programs:
  • Associate of Science in Medical Laboratory Technician
  • Associate of Science in Histotechnology
Quick Summary:

For over 35 years, Keiser University has maintained a practical, hands-on approach to career education to help our students achieve their personal and professional goals.


University of Cincinnati Online

[Campus]
Locations:
  • Cincinnati
Programs:
  • Bachelor of Science in Medical Laboratory Science
Quick Summary: Work toward your degree online with University of Cincinnati Online.

National American University

[Campus]
Programs:
  • Clinical/Medical Laboratory Technician A.A.S.
  • Medical Assisting A.A.S.
Quick Summary: Flexible career learning to fit your busy lifestyle - National American University.

Harrison College

[Campus]
Programs:
  • Medical Laboratory Technology AAS
  • Medical Assisting Diploma
Quick Summary:

Harrison College prides itself on truly knowing our students -- their lives and families, obstacles and motivations and their dreams and goals.


Southern Technical College

[Campus]
Programs:
  • A.S. - Medical Laboratory Technician
  • Diploma - Medical Assistant
  • Patient Care Technician
  • More
Quick Summary:

Get in, get out, get ahead with Southern Technical College!


IBMC College

[Campus]
Programs:
  • Associates-Medical Laboratory Technician
  • Associate-Medical Lab Technician
  • Certificate-Medical Assisting
  • More
Quick Summary:

Are you un-employed, under-employed or looking for a stable career where you can make a real difference? Well then, you have come to the right place.


Spencerian College

[Campus]
Locations:
  • Lexington
Programs:
  • Medical Laboratory Technician
  • Medical Assistant
Quick Summary: Get your career started with an education from Spencerian College.

New England Institute of Technology

[Campus]
Locations:
  • Warwick
Programs:
  • AS - Medical Laboratory Technology
Quick Summary:

New England Institute of Technology is a private, non-profit, co-educational technical college offering over 30 Associate in Science, Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degree programs.


Porter and Chester Institute

[Campus]
Programs:
  • Medical Assisting
Quick Summary:

Discover the Advantages of Porter and Chester . At Porter and Chester Institute, we’re serious about preparing you for career success.


American Institute

[Campus]
Locations:
  • Pompano Beach
Programs:
  • Medical Assistant
Quick Summary:

At American Institute, we believe you can become whatever you want to be, and we’re ready to help you get there.


Vista College

[Campus]
Programs:
  • Medical Lab Technician
  • Medical Assistant
Quick Summary: Get hands-on training with Vista College.

McCann School of Business & Technology

[Campus]
Programs:
  • Clinical Medical Assistant - Diploma
  • Medical Laboratory Technician - Associate of Specialized Technology
  • Medical Assisting - Associate in Occupational Studies
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