Lab technicians are found across many industries and their job descriptions and the types of samples they handle do differ from industry to industry. Lab technicians may work in the environmental, research, medical, and dental fields, among others.

Types of Lab Technicians

Lab Technician – Lab techs employed within the public health or environmental sectors work on samples including air, water, and soil. testing for factors that could be potentially hazardous to the earth and her inhabitants.

Medical Lab Technician – Medical or clinical lab techs work in the healthcare industry and perform a lot of hands-on work. As a medical lab tech, you’ll take samples such as tissue, blood, and urine, then run a battery of tests to determine what’s going on with the patient.

Dental Lab Technician – Dental lab techs design and manufacture dentures and other types of dental replacements. They may also choose to specialize in areas like crowns and bridges, implants, dentures or partial dentures, or orthodontics.

You may also find work as a lab technician within fields such a pharmaceutical, electronics, and geology.

Lab Technician Job Description

No matter which industry a lab technician is employed within, their duties will include:

  • Analyze samples
  • Perform tests
  • Operate & maintain equipment
  • Log data & discuss results
  • Complete administrative tasks

How to Become a Lab Technician

There are steps you must take in order to become a lab technician:

  • Get your high school diploma or GED.
  • Enroll in a community college or trade school.
    • You generally need at least a diploma or associate’s degree to get hired as a lab technician.
    • Make sure whatever program you choose is accredited by the National Accrediting Agency For Clinical Laboratory Science (NAACLS).
  • You may choose to go on and get a bachelor’s or even a master’s degree in laboratory science, but that isn’t necessary to get an entry-level position.
  • Once you’ve graduated and have your diploma or degree, get certified and licensed in your state.
    • With most certifications you’ll need at least an associate’s degree.
    • Licensing is different for each state, so check with your state boards to find out your requirements. Your school will be able to offer guidance with this.
  • Take continuing education to keep your license current.

Find an accredited lab technician program

Lab Technician Salary

Clinical Lab Technician Salary – The mean annual salary for clinical laboratory technologists and technicians was $62,870 in 2023. The lowest 10% earned around $36,770, and the top 10% earned around $93,900 or more.

Dental Lab Technician Salary – The mean yearly salary for dental lab technicians was $52,390 in 2023. The bottom 10% earned about $33,940, and the top 10% earned around $77,460.

The above salary info was updated in April of 2024.