Monday, August 26, 2013

Starting a Career As a Medical Laboratory Technician

Are you interested in starting a career in medical laboratory sciences, but not able to commit to the amount schooling required to become a Medical Laboratory Scientist (MLS), becoming a Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT) might be the perfect choice for you! Medical Laboratory Technicians, also called Medical Technicians, work in medical laborites under the direct supervision of Medical Technologists, Physicians, or Pathologists. MLTs usually work the same shifts as Medical Technologists and perform many of the same duties.
Medical Lab Technician's duties are very similar to that of medical technologists. Some of their duties include:
  • Prepping specimens for examination
  • Running laboratory instruments; performing tests on blood, tissue, and fluid
  • Reporting and sending test results
  • Crossmatch blood units
  • Operating laboratory equipment and microscopes
Becoming a Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT) might be the perfect choice if you desire a profession in the medical field, but cannot necessarily commit to obtaining a 4 year bachelors degree. What makes this profession rather appealing is the fact that the required education and training required more easily attained. To be eligible to work as a Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT), one must have an 2-year associate's degree from a program accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). Those with degrees in a similar field may be eligible for a one-year certificate program. For a list of accredited MLT programs, visit this page.
Currently, the job outlook for MLT is positive. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projected that the employment of MLTs will grow about 15% in the next decade. This substantial demand for MLTs is due to the anticipated healthcare needs of the aging US population and the projected decrease in costs of laboratory testes. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Medical Laboratory Technicians' annual salary can reach as high as $56,040, with a median annual wage of about $36,000. Most MLTs work in hospitals or physicians' offices.
Another positive attribute to becoming a Laboratory Technician is the opportunity to eventually further your education to become a Medical Laboratory Scientist. Many accredited programs offer a bridge program where current MLTs continue their education and clinical training to become a MLS. This flexibility might be very beneficial to those who need the security of a job in the near future, with intentions of furthering their education and responsibilities in the future. Many of the bridge programs are not full time, but rather allow for possible part time work while completing courses to obtain the MLS license.

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