In hospitals and labs, medical lab technicians are indispensable. They prepare specimens and perform tests under the direction of technologists or lab managers to assist doctors in diagnosing diseases. The required training is minimal, and individuals who love science and helping others will find the job very enjoyable. Here are some of the most important pros and cons of working as a medical lab technician.
Pro: Training Requirements
As a medical lab technician, you just need two years of training or less. Students often study scientific topics and get hands-on lab experience in associate degree programs at technical schools or community colleges. In addition, the military, vocational institutions, and certain hospitals provide certificate programs. For students with previous education in another health area, obtaining a hospital certificate typically takes just one year. Medical lab technicians must be licensed or certified in certain states, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. You must complete an approved training program and pass a test administered by a professional organization, such as the American Medical Technologists, to become certified.
Pro: Range of Choices
The majority of medical lab technicians work in hospitals, although the profession provides a lot of possibilities for specialization and diversity. Small lab technicians generally do a wide range of duties, while larger lab technicians specialize in certain areas, such as immunology. Some lab technicians, for example, serve as phlebotomists, gathering blood samples, while others work as hoist technicians, preparing tissues for pathologists to examine. Specialty certificates in phlebotomy and other fields are offered in addition to general certification.
Pro: Favorable Opportunities
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of jobs for lab technicians is projected to grow by 11% between 2020 and 2030, owing to an older U.S. population that requires more medical testing.
According to the American Medical Technologists, more opportunities will become available as technicians retire or move on to other jobs. Some people, for example, will progress to supervisory positions as they acquire experience and education. A medical lab technician who earns a bachelor’s degree in the field may advance to the position of medical lab technologist.
Con: Difficult Conditions
Because a false test result may harm a patient, medical technicians are under continuous pressure to maintain precision and detail. Because technicians may come into contact with diseased specimens or hazardous chemicals, they must use extreme caution and wear protective goggles, gloves, and masks. Other challenging aspects of the work include standing for long periods of time and lifting heavy patients who are unable to move. Night and weekend hours are frequent in hospitals and certain laboratories since they are always open.
Con: Mediocre Pay
Despite the significance of the work, the average salary for a medical lab tech is lower than that of a normal two-year college graduate. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for all medical and clinical lab technicians was $54,180 in 2020. Those working in hospitals earned an average of $56,630 a year, while those working in physician offices earned just $48,260. In this field, the top 10% made more than $83,700, while the lowest 10% earned less than $31,450.