The Medical Lab Technician (MLT) collects samples and performs tests to analyze tissue, body fluids, and other substances. MLT certification courses teach students all the skills they need to be successful in their career. Medical lab technician salary is competitive and the future job outlook is very good. MLT certification programs often result in an an Associate’s degree.
Some MLTs go on to receive their Bachelor’s degree to become a Medical Lab Technologist (commonly known as medical laboratory scientists). Technologists perform more complex tests and laboratory procedures than technicians do.
Medical Lab Technician Career at a Glance
|2015 Median Pay||$50,550 per year
$24.30 per hour
|Typical Entry-Level Education||Associate’s Degree|
|Work Experience in a Related Occupation||None|
|Number of Jobs, 2014||328,200|
|Job Outlook, 2014-24||16% (Much faster than average)|
|Employment Change, 2014-24||52,100|
Online MLT Certification Courses
Duties and Responsibilities
MLT certification courses teach students how to carry out complex tasks. Common medical lab technician duties and responsibilities include:
- Analyze body fluids, such as blood, urine, and tissue samples, and record normal or abnormal findings
- Study blood samples for use in transfusions by identifying the number of cells, the cell morphology or the blood group, blood type, and compatibility with other blood types
- Operate sophisticated laboratory equipment, such as microscopes and cell counters
- Use automated equipment and computerized instruments capable of performing a number of tests at the same time
- Log data from medical tests and enter results into a patient’s medical record
- Discuss results and findings of laboratory tests and procedures with physicians
- Supervise or train medical laboratory technicians
MLT Certification and Training
Medical laboratory technicians often complete an associate’s degree program in clinical laboratory science. A limited number of 1-year certificate programs are available from hospitals, and admission requirements vary. The Armed Forces and vocational or technical schools also may offer certificate programs for medical laboratory technicians. Technician coursework addresses the theoretical and practical aspects of each of the major laboratory disciplines.
Certifications, Licenses, and Registration
Some states require laboratory personnel to be licensed. Requirements vary by state and specialty. For specific requirements, contact state departments of health, state boards of occupational licensing, or visit The American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science.
Certification of medical laboratory technologists and technicians is required for licensure in some states. Although certification is not required to enter the occupation in all cases, employers typically prefer to hire certified technologists and technicians.
Medical Lab Technician Salary
In May 2015, the median annual wages for medical laboratory technologists in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:
- Hospitals; state, local and private – $61,300
- Medical and diagnostic laboratories – $61,010
- Office of physicians – $57,550
- Colleges, universities and schools – $54,420
Medical Lab Technician Jobs
The BLS has projected medical lab technician jobs will grow by 16% over the next ten years. This growth is expected to create more than 52,000 new medical lab technician jobs by 2024. Now is the perfect time to search for MLT certification course and enroll!
Job prospects will be best for medical and clinical laboratory technologists and technicians who complete an accredited education program and earn professional certification.
Medical laboratory technicians held about 163,400 jobs in 2014. The industries that employed the most medical laboratory technicians in 2014 were as follows:
- Hospitals; state, local and private – 44%
- Medical and diagnostic laboratories – 19%
- Office of physicians – 12%
- Colleges, universities and schools – 5%
Detail oriented. Medical laboratory technologists and technicians must follow exact instructions in order to perform tests or procedures correctly.
Dexterity. Medical laboratory technologists and technicians need to be skilled with their hands. They work closely with needles and precise laboratory instruments and must handle these tools effectively.
Physical stamina. Medical laboratory technologists and technicians may work on their feet for long periods while collecting samples. They may need to lift or turn disabled patients to collect samples for testing.