Medical Laboratory Technologist Jobs
Medical laboratory technologists, also known as clinical laboratory scientists, work in medical laboratories, using technological devices to help physicians conduct medical tests and diagnose patient symptoms so that appropriate care can be provided. A medical laboratory technologist may perform a wide range of tasks, from conducting a simple blood test to uncovering serious diseases like diabetes or HIV/AIDS.
Job Description: A Day in the Life of a Medical Laboratory Technologist
Medical laboratory technologists generally find employment in labs in hospitals, clinics, public health care institutions, and universities. Medical laboratory technologists usually have limited contact with patients, as they spend most of their time running tests in the lab and then reporting results to physicians, nurses, and other health care practitioners who deal with patients. Physicians use the information gathered from lab work to help diagnose and treat patients.
Making use of a variety of complex and expensive electronic instruments and computers, such as cell counters and microscopes, medical laboratory technologists analyze specimens of human blood and tissue. They may determine a patient’s blood type for a transfusion, check the blood and tissues for chemicals or drugs, perform cell counts of the patient’s blood, and more. A medical laboratory technologist must not only know how to perform these tests but also how to properly evaluate the results.
General Requirements and Training
To become a medical laboratory technologist, a minimum of a bachelor’s degree is required, preferably in a scientific field. After completing an undergraduate degree, aspiring medical laboratory technologists must also graduate from an accredited medical technologist program. This is where they are taught how to utilize the technology necessary to their profession, as well as how to read medical test results.
Medical laboratory technologists must also pass a national certification exam after completing their education.
Salary, Benefits, and Opportunities for Advancement
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary of medical and clinical laboratory technologists is $53,500 per year as of May 2008. Salary.com reports the mid-50% earnings range of medical technologists to be $52,237 to $62,300.
According to Payscale.com, a medical technologist with one to four years of experience earns an average of $17.17 to $21.93 hourly, while a medical technologist with twenty or more years of experience earns an average of $22.93 to $28.75.