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Career Tips & Advice

How Does a Medical Laboratory Technician Fit into the process?

Concorde Staff
Concorde Staff
Updated April 24, 2018. The information contained in this blog is current and accurate as of this date.
Learn what medical lab technician or medical laboratory technicians do and how to beocme a medical laboratory technician.

Thinking of starting a career in the health care field, but not sure which path is the right choice for you? You've been told to look at becoming a Medical Laboratory Technician and not sure how they fit into the process? These are normal questions when searching for the right career in healthcare.

At Concorde Career College, we offer a wide variety of programs in the healthcare field that can be achieved at an accelerated pace compare. Our Medical laboratory technician training program is one of over 20 programs offered. But just what does a Medical Lab tech do anyways?

Medical Lab Tech Job

A Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT), also referred to as a medical lab tech, or clinical laboratory technician can work in diagnostic labs, doctor's offices and hospitals. MLTs run tests on blood and bodily fluid that help give doctors answers; answers that can help doctors diagnose what's wrong before starting a treatment plan.

Medical lab technicians: Set up and sanitize laboratories, prepare specimens, matching blood compatibility for transfusions, analyzing fluid chemical content, collect blood samples and examine immune system elements. Technicians are expected to handle sophisticated laboratory equipment, including cell counters, microscopes, and automated analyzers. These devices are used to search for parasites, bacteria and other microorganisms. Medical laboratory technicians carry out less complicated procedures and tests than do medical laboratory technologists.

Specialized Areas

The tests that lab techs conduct assist doctors in verifying the causes of an illness, making medical decisions and determining treatment options. Some of the areas in which medical lab technicians may specialize include:

  • Microbiology
  • Hematology
  • Blood banking
  • Immunology
  • Clinical chemistry
  • Molecular biology
  • Cytotechnology

Medical Lab Technician vs Technologist, what's the difference?

They sound the same, right? Why are the job titles so similar? Sometimes technologists are referred to as medical laboratory scientists which makes the 'who's who' much clearer. Although medical laboratory technicians and medical laboratory technologists both carry out tests that doctors order, technologists often do more complex tests and lab procedures. For this reason, technologist needs two more years of school than a technician does. Most of the time technicians do more of the daily, usually automated tests, while medical lab technologists do more detailed manual tests and prepare specimens.

Another difference that is important to know, if you become a medical laboratory technician your boss could be a Medical Laboratory Technologist. Medical lab techs are often supervised by a technologist.

Where do Medical Lab Techs Work

Most medical lab technicians are usually found working in hospitals, diagnostic laboratories or physicians' offices. Other employment options for medical lab technicians are available with blood and organ banks, medical equipment sales companies, research facilities, clinics, and public health organizations, as well as pharmaceutical and reference laboratories.

They can work odd shifts throughout the day and sometimes are on-call in case of an emergency. They usually work in a clean, sanitized and well-lit space and must wear protective clothing such as lab coats, masks, goggles, and gloves when handling equipment and specimens.

Job Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates medical laboratory technician jobs will grow by nearly 13 percent between 2016 and 2026, much higher than the national average for all occupations. A total of 42,700 new jobs in the field is expected to occur during that time frame. An increase in the aging population is expected to lead to a greater need to diagnose medical conditions, such as cancer or type 2 diabetes, through laboratory procedures.

Become a Medical Laboratory Technician Today

What are you waiting for? Become a Medical Lab tech today! To learn more about the opportunities at Concorde, contact our Admissions office today!