Clinical lab technologists will work in labs of many sizes. They supervise medical lab technicians, and duties will be on a higher level than those you watch over. You can choose a specialization, if you desire:
- Blood bank technologist: You’ll work with blood to classify it and make it ready for transfusion.
- Clinical chemistry technologist: You’ll analyze the chemical and hormonal contents of fluid specimens.
- Cytotechnologist: You’ll use cell samples to prepare slides to check for abnormalities or cancers
- Immunology technologist: You’ll introduce foreign elements to check for any type of response (allergies, immune disorders, etc.)
- Microbiology technologist: You’ll analyze fluid samples for microorganisms and bacteria.
- Molecular biology technologist: You’ll test fluid samples using complex proteins and nucleic acids.
A typical day-to-day may vary depending on where where the technologist is employed and what field they specialize in. Common daily duties often include:
- Analyze fluids such as blood, urine, and tissue.
- Record your discoveries.
- Study blood samples to see if they are compatible for transfusions.
- Know how to use microscopes, cell counters, and other equipment.
- Collaborate with a medical team.
- Supervise and train.
How to Become a Medical Technologist
To become a medical lab technician takes two years, and you’ll receive an associate’s degree. However, if you’re interested in becoming a medical technologist, you’ll need to get a bachelor’s degree.
- Get your high school diploma or a GED.
- Get a bachelor’s degree in medical technology or life sciences.
- Apply to the clinical or hands-on portion of your program.
- Become licensed, if your state requires you. To become licensed, you must have graduated from an accredited program.
- Apply to a MLT to MLS program to become a technologist, if you’re already a technician. Your certifications can be generalized or within the area of your specialty.
The mean annual salary for clinical lab technologists and technicians was $56,910 in 2021. Just starting out in your field, the salary in 2020 was $30,280, while the top 10 percent made over $79,340.
The top-paying industries are:
- Outpatient care centers, at a median of $59,750
- Colleges and universities, at a median of $54,470
Salary information updated in March of 2022.