When a doctor orders a series of tests on a patient, it’s the job of medical and clinical laboratory technologists and technicians to prepare and perform those tests to help detect diseases or abnormalities. These professionals analyze body fluids, tissue, and cells. Using powerful medical equipment, they look for bacteria, parasites, and abnormal cells. They also analyze cholesterol levels, and cross-match blood samples for transfusions, documenting their results in reports or patient medical records. Since they regularly handle samples and medical instruments contaminated by infectious microbes, they wear protective goggles, gloves, and masks to minimize the risk of contagion. In larger labs and hospitals, technologists and technicians tend to specialize in areas like blood work or microbiology. Most work full-time. In general, technologists supervise the work of technicians. Technicians need an associate’s degree in clinical laboratory science, and technologists need a bachelor’s degree in medical technology or life sciences. Licensure is required in some states, and certification is often preferred by employers. The work can be stressful, especially when they must perform complex tests accurately and in a limited time. However, they gain satisfaction from knowing they’ve provided the vital information doctors need to save lives… or cure diseases.
What they do:
Analyze chromosomes or chromosome segments found in biological specimens, such as amniotic fluids, bone marrow, solid tumors, and blood to aid in the study, diagnosis, classification, or treatment of inherited or acquired genetic diseases. Conduct analyses through classical cytogenetic, fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) or array comparative genome hybridization (aCGH) techniques.
On the job, you would:
Arrange and attach chromosomes in numbered pairs on karyotype charts, using standard genetics laboratory practices and nomenclature, to identify normal or abnormal chromosomes.
Count numbers of chromosomes and identify the structural abnormalities by viewing culture slides through microscopes, light microscopes, or photomicroscopes.
Examine chromosomes found in biological specimens to detect abnormalities.
Math and Science
Arts and Humanities
Engineering and Technology
computers and electronics
reading work related information
thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem
noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
People and Technology Systems
thinking about the pros and cons of different options and picking the best one
figuring out how a system should work and how changes in the future will affect it
listen and understand what people say
read and understand what is written
Ideas and Logic
order or arrange things
make general rules or come up with answers from lots of detailed information
see hidden patterns
quickly compare groups of letters, numbers, pictures, or other things
add, subtract, multiply, or divide
People interested in this work like activities that include ideas, thinking, and figuring things out.
They do well at jobs that need:
Attention to Detail
You might use software like this on the job:
Object or component oriented development software
Analytical or scientific software
Cell Bioscience Automated Image Capture
MetaSystems Isis Color Karyotyping
bachelor's degree or certificate after college usually needed
Get started on your career:
New job opportunities are very likely in the future.