Test tubes, beakers, bubbling substances, small hoses with blood or chemicals, pills, bottles, needles: these are all images that pop into our minds when we think of what a medical laboratory might look like. Of course, no lab is complete without the white-coated professionals who are controlling these factors, using the lab to draw conclusions about a patient's health, provide the device or equipment a patient needs to return to health, or experiment with the next medical breakthrough. Find a medial laboratory technician school below to get started. Regardless of what pictures come into our heads, medical labs have often remained a secluded, even somewhat mysterious part of medical facilities. Thankfully we do have such places, and thankfully there are talented medical lab technicians who are using their talents to serve the health needs of the general public who relies on them.
The primary responsibilities of a medical lab technician relate to understanding a doctor's diagnosis and producing the right physical solution to suit a patient's needs. Typically, doctors or patients will provide detail descriptions of what they require. Other times, patients will actually visit the lab where the technician can measure, test, or question them to get the right information and be guided towards the correct decision. A lot of patients will need the services of a medical lab because of having suffered from a disease or accident. Even patients with a birth defect or an amputation will be referred to a technician's special solutions.
The type of patient and solution depends on the specific type of medical problem the patient has. In fact, there are many different medical fields that patients will be referred from. Medical lab technicians may serve patients with diagnoses from podiatrists, orthotists, prosthetists or other healthcare professionals. Nearly any time that a patient requires a special piece of equipment or medical solution that is not immediately available in the doctor's office or hospital will be referred to a medical laboratory technician.
There are several different types of medical laboratories that technicians can have careers at. The three most common are dental, ophthalmic, and medical appliance technicians. Medical technicians frequently find employment in supply manufacturing and distribution companies, many of which are rather small. If not working for one of these companies, medical technicians might work within a lab at a physician's office, in a hospital, or even in stores that offer health materials and supplies to patients.
There are two major factors that contribute to the exploding job prospects in this field. First, the age of the population is increasing. Like many other medical fields, the need for the medical laboratory technicians is increasing along with the median age. As many more individuals enter their later years of life, their bodies will need more medical treatments. Also, modern research continuously creates more and more medical solutions. As the potential solutions increase for a variety of ailments, so will the need for technicians' providing these solutions increase. There will likely continue to be a high demand for talented, educated medical technicians to serve the host of patients who will need them.
While you might not entirely be working with beakers, blood, or bubbles, you'll have plenty of opportunities to work with state-of-the-art medical solutions. Combined with your state-of-the-art education, your career as a medical laboratory technician will blossom inside of a company, office, or hospital.
One of the most common questions we get regarding this career is what are the main duties that you’ll have as a medical lab assistant. After interviewing several former assistants the one thing you need to understand is this is an entry level position that will further help you get trained in the industry. As an assistant you’ll be working mainly on collecting specimens for your superiors and getting things ready for them which can also include cleaning equipment. You will get to conduct some quality controlled experiments but the majority of your day will be spent assisting others with tests and recording lab results.
Medical Lab Assistant – perform routine lab duties including testing, cleaning as well as delivering test results to the other physicians. Some lab assistants even work in the front office and perform many of the duties as a medical front office assistant depending on the size of the company you work for.
Phlebotomist – One of the most common areas you’ll find employment is to become a phlebotomist. Here you’ll professionally take blood and even check blood for common health related issues. You’ll learn how to properly prepare the blood work for the labs as well as assist the doctors with their needs for a patient. As part of your Associate’s Degree in Medical Laboratory Technician see if they offer a phlebotomy program as well which is a great career.
Specimen Processor – Often in a laboratory environment you’ll be given specimens to process which can mean getting them prepared on slides for the physician on call or getting them ready to be sent out to a hospital or other laboratory for further analysis.
Pathology Assistant – Depending on where you work you might work for a pathologist in a laboratory setting. This is a similar position but just called a pathology assistant.
- Lab Skills
- Understanding Immunology
- Molecular Biology
- Human Anatomy
- Urinalysis and Blood
- Phlebotomy and Venipuncture
- Clinical Chemistry
- Ethics and Theory