What Is A Lab Technician?

When you go to the hospital and have your blood drawn, the sample goes back into a laboratory where it is run through sophisticated test equipment that shows what bacteria, parasites, pathogens, and other anomalies it might contain. Without this technology, the detection of serious diseases such as cancer or diabetes would never be possible. This is where a lab technician becomes such a crucial part of today’s modern healthcare.

It is vitally important to be informed!
Be sure to request information from more than one school in order to compare which program is best for you.

Popular Schools — Or Choose A State —>

Matching School Ads
  • Apply At Fortis College Today! Explore the Career Programs.

Programs:

  • Medical Laboratory Technology
  • Medical Assisting
  • Medical Assisting - Diploma
  • And more...
Locations: Grand Prairie
  • Named a Best for Vets school by the Military Times in 2014.
  • Has specialized in student-centered technology, business, criminal justice, health science, and culinary education for over 45 years.
  • Makes it possible for students to earn a bachelor’s degree in 2.5 years or an associate’s in 1.5 years by providing a year-round schedule.
  • Offers externships and clinical experience that help students prepare for life after they graduate.
  • Has 10 campuses across the mid-Atlantic, plus online degree programs.

Programs:

  • Medical Assisting - Diploma
  • Medical Assisting - Associate's
  • Surgical Technology - Associate's

Ultimate Medical Academy Educates Future Healthcare Professionals

You bring your goals and motivation to UMA, and we will provide you the education and the support to help make you a success!  Even if you haven’t been serious about your career before, we can help boost your confidence and prepare you for a career in healthcare.

Programs:

  • A.S. - Healthcare Technology and Systems
  • Diploma - Healthcare Technology and Systems
  • A.S.- Health Sciences (Pharmacy Technician)
  • And more...

The Metropolitan Institute of Health and Technology (MIHT) is dedicated to educating men and women to serve with confidence in the health and technology industry. MIHT provides career training for students to move forward in their chosen field of study, changing their lives for the better. MIHT strives to provide quality education with affordable tuition. Our staff works to determine the best financial options for students on an individualized level.

Programs:

  • Clinical Medical Assisting
  • Electronic Health Records
  • Pharmacy Technician
Locations: Lorton

At Kaplan University, we offer over 180 degree and certificate programs. With three different ways to learn, you can choose the format that works best for you:

  • Study wherever you have an Internet connection, because almost all of our courses are 100% online, or
  • Take campus-based classes(with day and evening options available), or
  • Combine campus learning with online classes (blended).

Programs:

  • Nurse Educator Graduate Certificate
  • Master of Science - DNP Executive Leader
Locations: Hagerstown

Founded in 1886, National College and American National University (ANU) are dedicated to the training and education of men and women for a full life and a successful career in a number of fields in business, information technology, and health care. National College and ANU offer more than 45 academic programs including numerous masters’, bachelors’, and associate degree programs, short-term diploma programs, English as a Second Language, and corporate training.

Programs:

  • Medical Assisting - Associate
  • Pharmacy Technician - Diploma
Locations: Bristol

Centura College, with campus locations in Virginia, South Carolina and Florida, is dedicated to helping students gain the skills and attitudes necessary to succeed. Drawing from over 30 years of career school experience.

Programs:

  • Associate of Occupational Science Degree in Medical Assisting-Concentration in Clinical Support
  • Medical Assisting Diploma
  • Associate of Occupational Science Degree in Medical Assisting-Concentration in Management
  • And more...

Miller-Motte Technical College (MMTC) has a history of helping students succeed through hands-on education and career training. Our faculty and staff work to ensure that when you've completed your program, you're truly ready to begin your career.

Programs:

  • Medical Assisting - Associate of Occupational Science
  • Healthcare Technology - Associate of Occupational Science
  • Surgical Technology - Associate of Occupational Science
Locations: RoanokeLynchburg
Founded in 1886, National College and American National University (ANU) are dedicated to the training and education of men and women for a full life and a successful career in a number of fields in business, information technology, and health care. National College and ANU offer more than 45 academic programs including numerous masters’, bachelors’, and associate degree programs, short-term diploma programs, English as a Second Language, and corporate training.

Programs:

  • Medical Assisting - Associate
  • Pharmacy Technician - Diploma
  • The RN to BSN program helps students gain valuable skills through a practice learning experience that requires little or no travel.
  • Nurses looking to advance their education may choose between two program tracks based on their goals: the RN-BSN and the RN-BSN-MSN.
  • Qualifying students may transfer up to 75% of required credits to the RN to BSN program.

Programs:

  • M.S. in Nursing (MSN) - BSN Track - Nurse Informatics
  • M.S. in Nursing (MSN) - RN Track - Nurse Informatics

At a Glance

Lab Technician TrainingOther Job Titles: Clinical Lab Technician, Healthcare Technician
Salary Range*: $24,000-$57,000; Median $37,000
Education/Training Required: Certificate or associate’s degree
Desired Skills/Aptitude: Technical aptitude, attention to detail, communication skills, manual dexterity
Certification/Licensing: Depends on state; certification available but not required in all cases
Locations with Best Opportunities: Illinois, Washington, Hawaii, California
Employment Outlook: 15% through 2020
Opportunities for Advancement: Lab technicians have opportunities to become lab technologists through further education

What a Lab Technician Does

A lab technician works under the supervision of a lab technologist. The latter has a four-year degree and is responsible for performing analysis on specimens at a higher level. Typical duties of the lab technician include:

  • Performing tests on cells and bodily fluids
  • Collecting and preparing specimens for further analysis
  • Operating scientific equipment

Performing tests on cells and bodily fluids are part of the process for detecting diseases, microorganisms, bacteria, and parasites that could be causing an ailment in a patient. As mentioned before, lab technicians perform the basic tests and lab technologists do further complex research.

The lab technician is may also be responsible for collecting samples and specimens. For example, this person may need to draw blood from the patient.

There is a variety of complex equipment used to process samples in a laboratory. The lab technician is trained to operate equipment such as microscopes, cell counters, and other computerized devices used for gathering data on samples.

The Workplace

The majority of lab technicians find employment in hospitals and others work in doctor’s offices and medical diagnostic laboratories. It is the hospital where the laboratory technician might find the day to be the busiest. This is because the initial work is collecting the sample which oftentimes may not be that easy. People in general don’t like getting their blood drawn nor do they like giving urine samples. This is where the lab technician also has to be patient and communicate effectively with patients.

Back in the laboratory, a lab technician helps the lab technologist analyze the sample. The technician might help set up and sterilize equipment. While the technologist does the high-level complex analysis, the technician might follow instructions for running the sample again just to verify there was not a false positive. The different lab scenarios are endless.

Education and Certification

A future lab technician who is still in high school will be one step ahead by taking courses in chemistry, biology, mathematics, and computers before graduating. Chemistry and biology are both highly complex subjects and it is better to find out what they are all about before attending a college program.

Lab technicians only require two-year associate’s degrees. Later on, they can pursue a four-year bachelor’s degree and open up new opportunities as a lab technologist. There is also the option to get a one year certificate in medical laboratory technology but this is typically done when a person already has an advanced degree in the medical field. For example, a registered nurse might decide she would like to work in a laboratory and gets a one-year certificate.

Certification and licensing requirements vary from state to state. It is best to check with your state’s agency responsible for licensing of lab technicians to determine its requirements. There are various certification options that usually involve specializing. For example, a lab technician might want to specialize in blood drawing (phlebotomy) and pursues the appropriate certification for it.

*Salary Source: BLS May 2012