Do you love science and hands on work? How about searching for the reasons people get sick and helping to make them better? A career as a clinical or medical laboratory technologist or technician might just be the job for you. Here at Technician Salary, you will find what technologist or technician jobs entail, what degrees you can earn through lab technician schools, and what you can expect to earn once you start this exciting career.
Clinical laboratory technologists (CLT’s), or also commonly referred to as medical technologists and clinical laboratory scientists, perform the tests needed in the detection, diagnosis, and treatment of different diseases. Clinical lab technicians or medical laboratory technicians also contribute their skills to this vital work.
Medical technologists have many different duties, most of which involve the examining and analyzing of body fluids and cells. A medical technician will match blood for transfusions, look for parasites, bacteria, and other microorganisms, and test for drug levels in a patient’s blood to show how the patient is responding to medical treatments. They also analyze the chemical content of different body fluids, prepare specimens for examination, count cells, and look for different abnormalities in blood cells and body fluids.
A clinical lab technologist uses cell counters, microscopes, automated equipment and computerized instruments with the capabilities of performing a number of tests simultaneously. After research, testing, and examining a specimen, a clinical lab tech analyzes the results and prepares them for interpretation by a physician.
Is there a difference between a clinical laboratory technologist and a clinical laboratory technician? A clinical laboratory technologist’s job involves performing more complex and in depth tests than a technician would normally perform. Some of these tests include bacteriological, microscopic, hematological, chemical, biological, and immunology tests. They develop cultures of tissue samples and body fluid to find bacteria, parasites, fungus, and other microorganisms. Lab technologist also type and cross match blood samples for blood transfusions. Clinical laboratory technologists can also specialize in different technological fields. Some branches of these are clinical chemistry techs, microbiology techs, blood bank techs or immunohematology techs, cytotechnologists, molecular biology techs, and immunology techs. A technologist can also supervise over clinical laboratory technicians.
Clinical laboratory technicians perform less complex and involved laboratory procedures and tests than technologists do. A technician will usually work under a clinical laboratory technologist and use machines, such as an automated analyzer, and complete manual tests by following instructions. A medical laboratory technician can work in different areas of the laboratory or focus on a specialized branch.
Lab Technician Schooling
A clinical or medical laboratory technologist carries more job responsibilities so they are more thoroughly trained at a university and will receive a bachelor’s degree with a major in medical technology or one of the other life sciences. Sometimes a technologist can qualify for a job even though they have less education but they have hands on job experience and specialized training. Clinical and medical technicians receive an associates decree from a community college or qualify for certification from a hospital, vocational, or technical school. Also, different branches of the Armed Forces can train a person to become a medical technician.
Different states have different requirements for laboratory personnel. Information on licensure in any state is available from the state’s department of health. If a state does require licensure to practice, it is usually showing proof of certification and the passing of an exam.
Lab Technician Salary
Like most jobs, there are many factors that can affect salary levels in the medical laboratory fields, such as, job experience, education, where a person works and lives, and what actual responsibilities a person carries. What is the average lab technician salary? For an overall view, here are some income brackets a person looking to enter this field should consider.
Medical and clinical laboratory technologist’s salary can be between $35,000 and $70,000 annually. Technologists who worked in federal government labs earned, on average, $58,000. Those that worked in diagnostic and medical labs and hospitals earned around $50,000. However, technologists who worked at doctor’s offices and universities only earned around $45,000.
Medical and clinical laboratory technician’s salary can be between $21,000 and $51,000 annually. Technologists who work in hospitals or universities can expect to earn $34,000 annually. Those that work in doctor’s offices and diagnostic and medical laboratories earn around $31,000 and those that work in any other ambulatory health care service can earn around $29,000 annually.
A career in this field has much room for growth and development. Clinical and medical technologist and technicians are in high demand as there is a greater need for them than there are technologists and technicians available. Supply and demand play a large role in a technicians pay scale and yearly salaries. With such a demand for this field, a lab technicians salary is only expected to grow with its demand.