Laboratory technician careers are fast growing and in demand. You would be blown away at the rate of job growth in this area of the healthcare field. What does a laboratory technician or technologist do? They are in charge of conducting laboratory tests on tissues, cells and fluids. They compare the blood types and administer tests that will determine the drug level in a patient’s blood. They do tests to find diseases, viruses, bacteria and parasites. They also break down the fluids’ chemical composition.
They use microscopes, automated medical instruments, cell counters and any equipment that can do multi-tasks when conducting the tests. They analyze the findings and send a report to doctors to have the data reviewed. It is very important that a lab technician is skillful in analyzing the test results to be able to provide a useful report to the doctors or physicians.
Their educational attainment is a very important factor in determining the tasks that can be given to a lab technician. Clinical laboratory technicians are required to finish up a four year course in the life sciences or medical technology. However, hands-on experience is also a plus. They need to have a certificate or associate degree to be qualified as a laboratory technician.
Some factors that will contribute to the growth of this career are increase in population and technology advancements in testing processes. Laboratory technicians perform microscopic, hematological, immunological, biological, chemical and bacteriological tests. They study microorganisms like bacteria in body tissues and fluid. They also match blood types for blood transfusions. Some of them can also assume supervisory roles.
Technicians who work in large laboratories usually specialize in a specific field, but most laboratory technicians only do laboratory tests. Clinical chemistry technologists focus on making samples and determining the contents of body fluids. Microbiology technologist specializes in microorganisms. Immunohematology technologists collect and study blood types for blood transfusions. Immunology technologists are focused on human immune system. Cytotechnologists study cells with the use of microscope to detect any signs of cancer. Molecular biology technologists examine test samples with the use of nucleic acid and complex protein testing procedures.
On the contrary, clinical laboratory technicians perform more simple tests. They conduct tests with the use of automated medical equipment or they may also manually perform the tests. Laboratory technicians may also specialize in a certain field. Phlebotomists are experts in blood collection. Histotechnicians are responsible in getting tissue samples for doctor’s analysis. Clinical laboratory technologists are the ones who supervise the activities of laboratory technicians.
A laboratory technician’s tasks will depend on the employer. Employers for bigger laboratories or hospitals require laboratory technicians to work on rotating shifts during the day, evening and night. Some even have to report for duty on weekends and holidays. As for smaller laboratories, lab technicians usually work on call. The nature of their work is not hazardous to their health as long as they take proper precautions. They should wear gloves and masks to ensure safety. They are also trained on how to deal with harmful and dangerous samples. These technicians are usually seen standing or walking around the laboratories. There work sure isn’t easy. Laboratory technician careers are indeed serious jobs.