Clinical and Medical Laboratory Technologists and Technicians play a vital role in the detection, diagnosis, and treatment in illness and disease. If you enjoy medical science and hands on work this might be the field for you, but what it all comes down to for most people is “Can I support myself and a family if I pursue this career?” In this article, you will find what education and training you will need, if there is room for advancement, and what you can expect to earn once you begin your career as a lab technologist or technician.
A medical lab technician’s job is less complex than a technologist’s job and does not require as much schooling. Lab technicians generally receive an associate’s degree from a junior or community college. They can also earn a certificate from a teaching hospital or technical school. Different branches of the Armed Forces can also train a person to become a technician. Very few technicians have the opportunity to learn their skills on the job. Technicians can advance to technologists by furthering their education or accumulating job experience.
The salary of a technician depends on a few variables, which include, where a technician works, where they live, how much experience they have, and the complexity of their duties. The median annual earnings of clinical and medical laboratory techs were around $33,000 in recent years. The highest 10 percent earned more than $50,000 and the lowest 10 percent earned less than $22,000. Where you physically work can have a bearing on how much the average lab technician earnings is annually. Technicians who worked at hospitals and universities earned the most and those who worked at medical laboratories or other ambulatory health care services earned the least.
A medical and clinical laboratory technologist performs more complex and detailed tests than a technician and usually is required to have a bachelor’s degree with a major in medical technology or one of the other life sciences. Some employers will accept technologists who have a combination of some education and on the job training, but the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Act mandates that technologists who perform highly complicated examinations have at least an associate’s degree.
A medical lab technologist has the opportunity to advance to a supervisory position in a laboratory or even become a chief medical lab technologist or lab manager. Usually, obtaining a graduate degree in medical technology, chemistry, or one of the biological sciences or obtaining professional certification will speeds up advancement.
A clinical and medical laboratory technologist’s salary is also dependant on the aforementioned conditions. The median annual earnings of a technologist were $50,000. The highest 10 percent earned more than $70,000 and the lowest 10 percent earned less than $35,000. Technologists who worked in government labs earned the most and those who worked in universities earned the least.