Medical and Clinical Lab Technologist Careers

lab-technician-500Medical and clinical lab technologists represent a first line of defense for medical diagnoses against illness. Their job is to take tissue or body fluid samples from patients and analyze them for illness or abnormalities. These can include blood, saliva, and urine samples, or tissue samples.

There is a difference between technicians and technologists; technicians physically collect the sample and thus have interaction with patients, whereas technologists work in the lab analyzing the results. Starting out as a technician can lead to training in more advanced fields.

Medical and Clinical Lab Technologist Careers Snapshot

As would be expected, medical lab personnel work in doctors’ offices, hospitals, and other health establishments like blood donation facilities. People who work for private practices tend to keep steady hours, but those who work in a large hospital may be expected to work irregular shifts, including overtime hours when short-staffed.

Further details on a career as a medical/clinical lab tech are listed below (statistics from the May 2015 Bureau of Labor Statistics and Onet Online):


is the average yearly pay for medical and clinical lab techs.


increase in employment between 2014 and 2024.


have a Bachelor’s degree while 30% have an Associate’s degree.


The minimum requirement you need to get into this field is an associate’s degree, but employers typically prefer a bachelor’s or master’s degree. In fact, 59 percent of jobs in this field require a bachelor’s. Alternatively, lower-end jobs can get by with a post-secondary certificate. Requirements for employment and certification vary by state.


The median salary for a medical lab technologist is $60,520 according to the May 2015 statistics. Typically, this salary requires a bachelor’s degree. Upper-end salaries in this field can reach $84,300, while lower-end salaries are $41,510. As expected, the more advanced your degree or certification, the higher job salary and advanced job you can request.

Job Duties

Medical or lab technicians must have a calm, reassuring demeanor when working because sometimes their job involves drawing blood from people who are anxious about needles or pain. They have to collect tissue samples or biopsies and take them to another specialist in the facility, who will analyze them. Technologists, meanwhile, are required to operate the equipment used to diagnose problems and be able to read the results, including forwarding it to the patient’s doctor while maintaining doctor-patient confidentiality.

Job Outlook

As the population ages, more and more people will need diagnosis for medical conditions or regular medical checkups. Because of this, jobs in this field are expected to grow by 14 percent over the next decade.

Medical and Clinical Lab Technologist Skills & Traits

Lab Tech Skill Set:Required Abilities:Tools Used by Lab Techs:Typical Work Activities:
• Active Listening
• Critical Thinking
• Reading Comprehension
• Science
• Operation Monitoring
• Near Vision
• Written Comprehension
• Inductive Reasoning
• Oral Comprehension
• Deductive Reasoning
• Chemistry analyzers
• Coagulation analyzers
• Hematology analyzers
• Laboratory diluters
• Photometers
• Recording information
• Getting information
• Evaluating information
• Working with computers
• Decision making

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