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:
Perform routine medical laboratory tests for the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease. May work under the supervision of a medical technologist.
On the job, you would:
Conduct chemical analyses of body fluids, such as blood or urine, using microscope or automatic analyzer to detect abnormalities or diseases and enter findings into computer.
Analyze the results of tests or experiments to ensure conformity to specifications, using special mechanical or electrical devices.
Set up, maintain, calibrate, clean, and test sterility of medical laboratory equipment.
Math and Science
Arts and Humanities
Safety and Government
public safety and security
listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions
reading work related information
noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
communicate by speaking
listen and understand what people say
Hand and Finger Use
put together small parts with your fingers
hold or move items with your hands
Ideas and Logic
notice when problems happen
order or arrange things
pay attention to something without being distracted
People interested in this work like activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions.
They do well at jobs that need:
Attention to Detail
You might use software like this on the job:
Medical digital imaging software
Electronic mail software
Data base user interface and query software
bachelor's degree or associate's degree usually needed
Get started on your career:
New job opportunities are very likely in the future.