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Career Tips & Advice

What is a medical laboratory technician?

Concorde Staff
Concorde Staff
Updated April 25, 2016. The information contained in this blog is current and accurate as of this date.
medical lab technician, concorde career college

With the advent of Medical Laboratory Professionals Week (April 24-30, 2016), now is an ideal time to consider a career as a medical laboratory technician or clinical lab tech.

One of many health care careers offered by Concorde Career Colleges, this two-year program provides an entry into the world of the medical laboratory, with considerable potential for career specialization and growth.

It's an ideal choice for the individual who wants to provide a needed service to the community while having a satisfying career.

Medical Laboratory Technician

Medical laboratory technicians (MLTs) are the backbone of the clinical laboratory. Working collaboratively with physicians, usually pathologists and medical laboratory technologists, medical lab techs study blood and other body fluid samples.

They perform a wide variety of medical lab tests used to diagnose disease or record normal findings.

MLTs use sophisticated equipment, including automated and computerized instruments and must keep careful records of their findings.

Great growth potential

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that job growth for medical laboratory technicians is projected to be 18 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations.

The increasing demand is fueled by several factors. First, the large baby boomer population is aging; many have chronic medical problems like diabetes. Routine screening for disease is a big part of clinical laboratory work, and prenatal testing for genetic conditions is also becoming common. Increasing access to health care insurance also means more people can afford laboratory testing.

Multiple employment settings

While hospitals remain the primary employment source for MLTs, diagnostic laboratories also offer jobs.

Additionally, physicians' offices are the third largest employment setting, according to the BLS. But medical lab techs also work in forensic laboratories, research labs, blood banks, and veterinary offices.

Bioinformatics - melding clinical data - with information technology is a potential area of specialization, as are microbiology, hematology, immunology, and molecular diagnostics.

Education, licensing and certification

Medical laboratory technologists need a minimum of an associate's degree in clinical laboratory science to practice.

Some states also require a license, and that means you must graduate from an institutionally accredited program, like the one at Concorde.

Graduating from an institutionally accredited program also helps you qualify for national certification, which might be required or preferred by many employers. Certifications are available in both general and specialty laboratory sciences.

Concorde's accelerated program means you could be starting your new career in as few as 20 months. Our state-of-the-art labs and simulation training offer excellent opportunities to learn the necessary skills under the supervision of qualified instructors.

If you need financial aid, we'll help you find it, and we offer scholarships as well. Call Concorde today for more information, and find out why US News and World Report rates medical laboratory technicians No. 14 in "best health care support jobs."