What is a Medical Laboratory Technician?
A medical laboratory technician is the specialist who deals with a range of complex laboratory equipment such as computers, microscopes and others that allow him or her to perform a variety of tests. They are those professionals who take samples of fluids, blood, or tissue from their patients and will determine and give a clear diagnostic. A medical laboratory technician works in a team with other healthcare specialists, like physicians and not only.
They will also make sure that the patient finds out what kind of disease he has or not, also they will provide identification of any abnormality that was discovered through conducting these tests.
Job Description of Medical Laboratory Technician
A medical laboratory technician or a MLT can find work in various settings and areas according to the level of education that was achieved and the medical specialization that one has gained across the years. The job for a medical laboratory technician will start with the daily task performance. At an entry level in this branch, one must perform the required laboratory tests based on the areas of chemistry, microbiology, hematology, immunology and many others, according to the requirements.
Another important detail when it comes to the job description from the entry level is that one must develop the necessary skills that are required in the field of laboratory. A medical laboratory technician will have to keep a good and clean environment in which they are working, to assure quality control, to sort and maintain their records dated and accurate.
A MLT has to take the right decisions when it comes to the sampling collection and the way the whole procedure is being handled, and the test results must be accurately obtained and the results passed forward to the healthcare provider whom he or she is working with.
The analysis may be very varied and it may include all the major areas that can be found in one or more clinical laboratories, not to mention the complexity of some of the tests. But their job description doesn’t end here. As a medical laboratory technician, your communicational skills must be very developed since you are going to work with people who don’t feel comfortable in a healthcare environment or they don’t like to see needles.
MLTs will have to be able to demonstrate that they are committed to their work and to the patients and that they dispose of moral values and ethical that will assure that any information given will remain confidential. The skill of communication is not only required for the patients but also for the team members whom he or she is working with, being a valuable asset to make the work continue without any kind of problems.
How to become a medical laboratory technician?
The steps that will lead you to a career opportunity to work as a medical laboratory technician include gaining the necessary understanding and knowledge in the educational system. It all starts with the high schools and the opportunity to achieve the courses that will prepare you for this path.
The requirements that need to be fulfilled start with having a high school diploma and in the process of learning possessing a two year associate’s degree in this medical laboratory technician field is also necessary. If by any chance you have obtained a degree or practical experience in any other related fields, then you are qualified to complete a one year program of certification.
The courses that can be found in these kinds of programs are based on the science subjects and they are focused on general knowledge concerning the area of the laboratory, in which a medical laboratory technician spends his or her time.
Accredited training programs can be provided to those who want to become medical laboratory technicians. Such decisions are for the best, since your career opportunity will grow instantly and so will the experience in this field. You can obtain proper information about what accredited program suits you the most, using as information source the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences that can provide an educational list with the programs that you require.
The training can be provided on the job and it will assure you a growth and a development in this field. As a future medical laboratory technician, you will work under the surveillance of a senior technician or your training will be fulfilled with a medical laboratory technologist.
The length of your training is based on the employer’s decisions and his policy and experience gained previously by the technician. There are states where a MLT has to be licensed in order to have the right to practice. The requirements will vary according to the state, but the process of license involves passing an exam or obtaining a certification.
Having a certification will be a huge bonus since many employers ask from their medical lab technicians to possess one. Their certifications can be obtained in certain specialization areas or just in general, through the American Society for Clinical Pathology or the American Medical Technologist.
One certification must be kept through continuous education and the necessary classes that can be found through various associations or given by the employers.
A MLT has to possess some necessary skills, such as having good hand dexterity, the knowledge on how to operate with the complex machinery that can be found in various medical laboratories and clinics, not to mention that their eyes have to catch every important detail. They must also know how to collect the data and analyse it.
If by any chance you are interested in advancement opportunities then by earning a bachelor’s degree you will become a medical laboratory technologist who deals with more complex work activities and that has earned a role in being a leader for others.
Work Environment and schedule for a Medical Laboratory Technician
A medical laboratory technician can find work in various fields of activity in the healthcare system, as well as in various settings. His or her work extends in the public or private domain, such as hospital medical laboratories or some independent facilities, physician and dentist offices, state agencies, clinical laboratories and so on.
Their job might often involve working with materials that are infected. That is why a medical laboratory technician is always protected wearing proper medical equipment such as gloves, goggles or even masks.
Their schedule is held in the normal hours, but some of them might also work at night or in the evenings. Their work will make them be at the work field also in weekends, not to mention holidays as needed, because the patient safety is always the most important of all.
Pros and cons of being a Medical Laboratory Technician
Medical Laboratory Technician like any other jobs or careers overviews has its cons and pros. Before deciding upon the job that you want to have you should take a look at the benefits that accompany it and at the drawbacks that are present.
The pros related with this job mark the educational requirements. You can have an associate’s degree in no time and the classes that you have to take are not boring and do not exhaust you at all. You might need some job training, but the good news is that as soon as you graduate you can start working and obtain everything else while you are working. Some states require as well a license that will allow to practice your job and besides that you’ll need to gain a certificate that in some cases the employments are asking for.
The advancement opportunities will not miss from this job presentation and with more schooling and training you can even occupy a position such as a medical technologist. You’ll always be in demand since the growth that is estimated in this healthcare field is very present.
If you wish to operate in a laboratory, the pro that will accompany this job is the fact that the contact with the patients is very limited, so you don’t have to worry about that side. However working in a medical laboratory, many times you’ll be exposed to infectious material and other chemicals. This is why your safety measures and the gear that you possess needs to be assured and safe.
Before you sign up for this job, you will need to make sure that you are well-informed about the daily tasks of this job and the expectation and responsibilities that arise from this job. The schedule of this job assumes irregular hours of work, depending on the facility as well as a long period when you’ll have to stay on your feet and work.
Medical Laboratory Technician job growth
For the next years, the employment growth prospects for Medical Laboratory Technicians have a rate of projection of 15%-16%. This projection is due to the number of demanding for medical tests that will provide valuable information when it comes to treating right conditions such as cancer or diabetes.
High demand for these professionals can be found in medical work settings and related medical industries such as diagnostic laboratories, universities, outpatient clinics, physicians’ offices as well as other facilities.
The job growth is also anticipated based on the increase in the number of the elderly population that is more and more in need for accurate information when it comes to their health.
Medical Laboratory Technician Salary
Like in any other work environment, there are the best jobs paid with a higher point in the salary and in the same category of jobs there are people with the lowest average salaries per year. In the case of medical laboratory technician salaries, the best high points in this branch receive a salary that reaches at about $76,210 per year, while those working in the same branch but estimated on a lower point in the salary will obtain a salary reaching at $34,950, yearly.
But these higher and lower points are influenced a lot by numerous factors that have a great impact in this job line, like in many others. Their starting point is situated in the education that starts once you’ve graduated high school and obtained a diploma and the training programs, certificates or license you’ve obtained.
According to the level of education and the experience, you’ll be qualified as a great asset to the society, this involving an increase over the years in your actual salary as well. Other factors that intervene in the situation of having a good income or a median one are based upon the type of facility in which you are working as a medical laboratory technician, and the location if your working place is situated in a metropolitan or non-metropolitan area.
The state in which you are working represents another variable that is really decisive when it comes to the salary. The median average in the salary expected for a medical laboratory technician is estimated to be at $42,205 per year.
Not to mention the fact that the majority of people working as medical laboratory technicians earn a median salary per year that reaches at $51,078, this estimation being based after following the statistics regarding the percentile of population that works in this profession.
The last ten percent of individuals working as medical laboratory technicians will earn a salary that is estimated at the yearly amount of $34,455. The annual medical laboratory technician salary for a person who just graduated from the educational system (the above mentioned parts) will be of $24,050 per year, while those who have gained years of experience in this field (for example a senior professional) will have yearly salaries that reach at $56,900 and even more.
If you developed great clinical skills and gathered together with the practice, then you have the chance to obtain a higher medical laboratory technician salary by possessing a bachelor’s degree. This field of profession from this place of employment will grant you a very rewarding perspective, bonuses, and the opportunity of promotion will bring an increase in your salary.
This job has a great future outlook and a rewarding perspective since the estimations that were done have a great growth rate due to the number of demand that is seen to appear over the years. Many people want to feel and be healthy, and they will always be in need for such specialists to show them the results of their tests made in many cases of identifying a disease or any other medical problems.
According to each state and their benefits that are presented with, the best paying states in this branch of profession are Alaska, Vermont, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New Jersey. An annual wage for a medical laboratory technician in Alaska is estimated to reach at $54,590, while in Rhode Island the annual wage reaches at $57,715 and in Connecticut it reaches at $50,365 per year.
Those people working in one of the metropolitan areas with a higher concentration of employment in this field of working will gain a salary that is comprised between $34,890 and $42,810, per year. For example, in the metropolitan areas of Los Angeles (such as Long Beach), the annual wage reaches at $42,810, while in other metropolitan areas like Atlanta, Sandy Spring the annual wage will be estimated to reach at $39,500.
Salary of a Medical Laboratory Technician in 2015
Like any other salary, there are some influential factors that affect the increase or the decrease in 2015 for these professionals. According to the surveys and their estimations the salary of these professionals is estimated to range between $24,015 and $56,045 per year.
The type of employment also makes a huge difference when it comes to the job of a medical laboratory technician. For instance, those who work for the government will have a higher income than those who work in medical laboratories. It is essential to take the best settlement as well when you choose the type of facility in which you want to work.
The job security in this field comes from the constant growth of the aging population. Another fact to sustain growth and security comes from the people that confront themselves with some chronic diseases and need some right away answers and solutions that will improve their lives. The demand for these professionals is always present in the health care system no matter what.
Medical Laboratory Technician Salary in 2016
The income of a medical laboratory technician in 2016, in the US, is mainly influenced based on several factors. The major factor that affects the earnings is the geographical location followed by the type of employer and the years of experience in the field.
According to the PayScale surveys, the starting point in the salaries of these professionals with all the benefits is estimated to be at $29,113 per year, and it can climb up to $51,376 per year. Referring to the benefit part the bonuses that are granted can reach up to $791 while the profit sharing for this group can be comprised between $100.05 and $5,004.
The income usually raises with more years of experience in the field. At an entry-level position, the salary of a medical laboratory technician with up to five years in the field is estimated to be below the national average. The earnings at this point reach with all the benefits to be comprised from $27,230 and $46,993.
A mid- career medical laboratory technician with 5 to 10 years in the field can expect with all the benefit salary package to earn an income that is comprised from $30,417 and can climb up to $50,883. At the same time, a late-career professional with more than 20 years in the field can expect to take home earnings that with all the benefits gather to be ranging from $33,488 per year and up to $58,992 per year.
As mentioned earlier one factor of impact is the geographical location where each earning is different according to each region. The variation in the salaries is reported based on two factors that influence the economic market-one being the cost of living while the second one reported are the cost of living.
The highest salaries in the country for medical laboratory technicians can be found in Minneapolis with an average median income that is estimated at $45,454 per year, a salary that is above the national average that usually reaches at $38,936 per year. Great paychecks can also be earned in cities like Seattle, San Antonio, Phoenix and a few other.
On the other side below the national average earnings for these professionals are to be found in Birmingham and Charlotte. For instance, in Huston, the earnings are below the national average reaching a median payment of $37,443 per year.
Medical Laboratory Technician Salary in Canada, Australia and UK
The medical laboratory technician has a great outlook in other countries, too. For example, if it is to have a look in this area of specialization you will see that in Canada for instance the salary of a medical laboratory technician per year is estimated to be comprised between CAD$40,100 and CAD$45,300 per year. The hourly wage of a medical laboratory technician reaches at CAD$22.21, this being the median average, while the top hourly wage that can be achieved in this field reaches at CAD$27.80 per every hour of work.
The lowest paid section in this branch will gain an hourly wage of CAD$17.45 per hour. The influential factors are still the same that can be seen in the US as well.
Australia, for example, will grant to a medical laboratory technician an annual salary that is comprised between AU$18,100 and AU$62,355. But this is not all: a yearly bonus is attributed to these professionals of about AU$4,970.
In the UK, according to the factors that influence one’s income, the salary will vary. An individual who has just graduated and entered in this field will gain a salary per year that reaches at £13,510, while a person who already has accomplished all the necessary qualification and the required experience in this profession will earn in the United Kingdom a salary that is comprised between £20,050 and £25,050 annually.
Those that are senior lab technicians will earn a salary over £25,050 and more, especially if their working place is on a high position in the classification of facilities. The same applies if the specialist had just been promoted or he has a manager job in this field.
Conclusion on Medical Laboratory Technician Salary
According to many surveys that were made, the medical laboratory technician jobs are estimated to have a massive growth, since compared with other related fields the growth in this case is a lot higher. The future outlook for such a professional is that with all the factors that might influence situations, people will be in great need, since this job involves people of different age categories who are in need to find out the truth about their health and what can be done to prevent signs of sicknesses or diseases or any other medical problems that will affect their bodies early enough.
This article will help you greatly with what a medical laboratory technician is, and what is a usual day at his work, also revealing how the medical environment is. These facts of daily work are comprised in the section of job description. The road of becoming one will present you with required information on the educational level that one must complete to work in this field. Other topics that were discussed are the work environment, as well as the usual schedule of an individual who works as a medical laboratory technician. The salary in the US and other countries like Canada, Australia and the UK is the last of the subjects that were discussed, as well as the importance of some vital factors that influence the salaries in each of these countries a lot. A short conclusion about the medical laboratory technician salary ends this article.
- First Published Date: 25 July, 2014
- Last Updated Date: 21 August, 2016