American Society of Clinical Pathology defines a clinical laboratory technician as a person who would search for any basic clue for determining the presence/absence, extent as well as the cause of the disease. Any skilled clinical laboratory technician would be responsible for carrying out laboratory tests in an efficient and accurate manner in order to provide with high quality patient care.
Following is the list of roles and duties of a clinical laboratory technician:
Must analyze the body fluids (blood, urine and tissue) and record the findings (normal/abnormal).
Must prepare the samples for the purpose of examination.
Must study the blood samples for use in blood transfusions.
Must be able to operate sophisticated laboratory equipments like microscopes.
Must be able to perform a number of tests at the same time.
Must log the results from medical tests and enter into patient’s record.
Must discuss results and observations with physicians.
Must be train/supervise other medical laboratory technician.
Must follow infection control and sterilization protocols.
How to become a Clinical Laboratory Technician?
Educational Requirement and Training:
It is highly recommended that the high school students who are interested to pursue their career in laboratory sciences must select their courses in biology, mathematics or chemistry. In order to become a clinical laboratory technician, you will need a bachelor’s degree. Most often, clinical laboratory technicians would require completing an associate’s degree program in clinical laboratory science. There are few one year certificate programs offered by hospitals for those candidates who already hold a degree in any related field like nursing.
Also, there are some certificate programs offered by the Armed Forces and technical schools for clinical laboratory technicians. The course work for clinical laboratory technician would include both theoretical as well as practical aspects of all the major laboratory disciplines. In addition, these programs would include some clinical practicum which would be helpful for the candidates to explore various topics like hematology and immunology. At times, these may also include some on-job training in urinalysis and mycology.
Some of the states in the United States would require the clinical laboratory technician to be licensed. It is to be noted that after the completion of aforementioned training, candidates will be eligible to earn certifications that are being offered by organizations like American Medical Technologists and American Society for Clinical Pathology. The process of certification would generally require passing an examination.
Job Outlook and Opportunities:
The job market of clinical laboratory technician has been estimated to grow by 30% from 2012 to 2022. This is much higher when compared with the average of all other occupations. It is the fact that the increase in aging population will automatically lead to the growth in demand for laboratory technicians for the purpose of diagnosing medical conditions.
As per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual pay for a clinical laboratory technician is $47,820 which equals to $22.99 per hour.