What does a lab technician do? Lab techs that work in the healthcare industry perform a lot of hands-on work. As a lab tech, you’ll take bodily fluid samples such as blood and urine then run a battery of tests to determine what’s going on with the patient the samples are from.
If you are employed with the public health or environmental sector, the samples you’ll work with will be more along the lines of air, water, and soil, testing for factors that could be potentially hazardous to the earth and her inhabitants.
You may also find work as a lab technician within fields such a pharmaceutical, electronics, and geology. No matter which industry you’re employed with, lab tech duties are fairly similar:
- Analyze samples.
- Preform tests
- Maintain equipment
- Complete administrative tasks
How do I become a lab technician?
There are steps you must take to become a lab technician:
- Get your high school diploma or GED.
- Enroll in a community college or trade school. You must have a certificate or diploma in order to become a lab technician.
- Make sure whatever program you choose is accredited by the National Accrediting Agency For Clinical Laboratory Science (NAACLS).
- You can also choose to go on and get a bachelor’s or even a master’s degree in medical laboratory science, but that isn’t necessary to get an entry-level position.
- Once you’ve graduated and have your degree or certificate, get certified and licensed.
- With most certifications, you’ll need an associate’s degree minimally.
- Licensing is different for each state, so check with your state boards to find out your requirements.
- Take continuing education to keep your license current.
Is a lab technician the same as a medical lab technician?
Lab techs are found across many industries. The major differences are in the way they are trained, and what samples they are handling.
How much will I make as a lab technician?
You’re looking at a median annual salary of $39K. Once you’ve been working as a lab tech for around ten years, you can make as much as $61K. Colleges, universities, and outpatient care centers pay the highest salaries. You’ll work full time, and most likely, you’ll be thrown some irregular hours, especially if you’re working in a place that’s open 24 hours a day.
Employment growth for lab technicians is expected to be stronger than average, at 14 percent through 2026. This means there will be approximately 22,900 jobs available throughout that timeframe. If you have an associate’s degree and the proper certifications, you’ll have a better chance of rising above any competition.