Technologist or medical laboratory technician or clinician (2023)

Clinical Laboratory Technologists (commonly known asmedical laboratory scientists) and clinical laboratory technicians collect samples and perform tests to analyze bodily fluids, tissues, and other substances.


Clinical laboratory technologists and technicians typically do the following:

  • Analyze body fluids, such as blood, urine, and tissue samples, and record normal or abnormal findings.
  • Study blood samples for use in transfusions, identifying the number of cells, cell morphology or blood group, blood type and compatibility with other blood types
  • Operate sophisticated laboratory equipment such as microscopes and cell counters.
  • Use automated equipment and computerized instruments capable of performing multiple tests at the same time
  • Records the data of the medical tests and inserts the results in the patient's medical record
  • Discuss the results and findings of laboratory tests and procedures with physicians.

Both technicians and technologists perform tests and procedures ordered by physicians and surgeons or other health professionals. However, technologists perform more complex tests and laboratory procedures than technicians. For example, technologists can prepare samples and perform detailed manual tests, while technicians perform routine tests that can be further automated. Clinical laboratory technicians generally work under the general supervision of clinical laboratory technicians or laboratory managers.

Technologists in small laboratories perform many types of tests; in large laboratories they sometimes specialize. The following are examples of types of technologists who specialize in clinical laboratories:

blood bank technicians, oimmunohematology technologists, collect blood, classify it by type and prepare blood and its components for transfusions.

clinical chemistry technologistsprepare samples and analyze the chemical and hormonal content of body fluids.

cytotechnologistsPrepare slides of body cells and examine these cells under a microscope for abnormalities that may indicate the beginning of a cancerous growth.

Immunology Technologistsexamine elements of the human immune system and its response to foreign bodies.

microbiology technologistsexamine and identify bacteria and other microorganisms.

molecular biology technologistsperform complex protein and nucleic acid tests on cell samples.

Like technologists, clinical laboratory technicians may work in multiple areas of the laboratory or specialize in one area. For example,histotechnicalThey are a type of clinical laboratory technician who cuts and stains tissue samples for pathologists, physicians who study the cause and development of diseases at the microscopic level.

Technologists and technicians generally specialize after having worked in a particular field for a long time or received advanced education or training in that field.

Work environment

Clinical laboratory technologists and technicians held approximately 331,700 jobs in 2018. The largest employers of clinical laboratory technologists and technicians were:

General medical and surgical hospitals; state, local and private48%
Medical and diagnostic laboratories19
medical consultants9
junior colleges, colleges, universities and professional schools; state, local and private6
Outpatient care centers3

Clinical laboratory personnel are trained to work with infectious samples or with caustic or fuming materials. When they follow proper methods of infection control and sterilizing equipment, their risk is lowered. They wear masks, gloves and goggles for their safety.

Technologists and technicians may be on their feet for extended periods and may need to lift or turn disabled patients to collect samples.

Injury and Illness

Technologists and clinical laboratory technicians are at risk of injury or illness on the job. For example, they may be prone to repetitive strain injuries because they perform the same tasks over and over again.

Working hours

Most clinical laboratory technologists and technicians work full time. Technologists and technicians who work in 24-hour facilities, such as hospitals and some independent laboratories, may work nights, weekends, or overnight.

education and training

Clinical laboratory technologists generally need a bachelor's degree. Technicians generally need an associate's degree or post-secondary certificate. Some states require technologists and technicians to be licensed.


An entry-level job for technologists typically requires a bachelor's degree in medical technology or life sciences.

A bachelor's program in medical laboratory technology, also known as a medical laboratory science degree, includes courses in chemistry, biology, microbiology, mathematics, and statistics. Students typically complete college courses and then enroll in the clinical portion of the program. The course emphasizes laboratory skills, including safety procedures and laboratory management, while the clinical portion includes hands-on training in a typical work environment, such as a hospital. Some laboratory science programs can be completed in 2 years or less and require prior college courses or a bachelor's degree.

Clinical laboratory technicians typically complete a degree program in clinical laboratory science. The Armed Forces and technical or vocational schools may also offer certification programs for medical laboratory technicians. The technical course addresses the theoretical and practical aspects of each of the main laboratory disciplines.

High school students interested in pursuing a career in medical laboratory science should take classes in chemistry, biology, and mathematics.

Licenses, Certifications and Registrations

Some states require laboratory personnel to be licensed. Requirements vary by state and specialty. For specific requirements, contact state health departments, state occupational licensing boards, or visitThe American Society for Clinical Laboratory Sciences.

In some states, certification is required for clinical laboratory technologists and technicians to become licensed. While certification is not required to enter the occupation in all cases, employers generally prefer to hire certified technologists and technicians.

Clinical laboratory technologists and technicians may earn general certification as a medical laboratory technologist or technician, respectively, or certification in a specialty such as cytotechnology or medical biology. Most accrediting institutions require technologists to complete an accredited education program to qualify to sit for an exam. For more information on accreditation, visit theNational Accreditation Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences,American medical technologists, It is likeAmerican Society for Clinical Pathology.


After additional education, work experience, or certification, technologists and technicians may specialize in one of many areas of laboratory science, such as immunology, histotechnology, or clinical chemistry. Some clinical laboratory technicians advance to technologist positions after gaining additional experience and education. Some universities have degree programs for medical laboratory technicians to become technologists (often referred to as MLT to MLS programs).

Personality and Interests

Medical laboratory technologists are often interested inBuilding, Thoughtmiorganizingareas of interest, according to theholland codestructure. The Construction area of ​​interest indicates a focus on working with tools and machines and making or fixing practical things. The Thought area of ​​interest indicates a focus on investigating, investigating, and increasing understanding of natural laws. The Organization interest area indicates a focus on working with information and processes to keep things organized into orderly systems.

If you're not sure if you have an interest in Build, Think, or Organize that might fit into a career as a medical laboratory technologist, you can take avocational testto gauge your interests.

Medical laboratory technologists must also possess the following specific qualities:

Ability to use technology.Technologists and medical laboratory technicians must understand how to operate complex machines.

Detail oriented.Technologists and medical laboratory technicians must follow the exact instructions of physicians to perform correct tests or procedures.

Skill.Technologists and medical laboratory technicians require skill when working with their hands. They work closely with needles and precise laboratory instruments and must be able to handle these tools effectively.

Physical resistance.Technologists and medical laboratory technicians may work on their feet for extended periods during sample collection. Disabled patients may need to be lifted or turned to collect samples for testing.


The median annual wage for clinical laboratory technologists and technicians was $53,120 as of May 2019. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than this amount and the other half earned less. The bottom 10% earned less than $30,920 and the top 10% earned more than $81,530.

As of May 2019, the median annual salaries for clinical laboratory technologists and technicians in the top industries in which they work were as follows:

General medical and surgical hospitals; state, local and private$ 55.780
Outpatient care centers54.810
Medical and diagnostic laboratories50.760
junior colleges, colleges, universities and professional schools; state, local and private49.600
medical consultants47.990

Most clinical laboratory technologists and technicians work full time. Technologists and technicians who work in facilities that are always open, such as hospitals and some independent laboratories, may work nights, weekends, or overnight.

job prospectus

Employment of clinical laboratory technologists and technicians is expected to grow 11% between 2018 and 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations.

The increase in the elderly population is expected to create a greater need to diagnose medical conditions such as cancer or type 2 diabetes through laboratory procedures. Prenatal testing for various types of genetic conditions is also becoming more common. Clinical laboratory technologists and technicians will be required to use and maintain equipment necessary for diagnosis and treatment.

job prospectus

Job prospects will be best for clinical laboratory technologists and technicians who complete an accredited education program and earn professional certification.

For more information

For more information about clinical laboratory technologists and technicians, visit

The American Society for Clinical Laboratory Sciences

american society for cytopathology

For a list of accredited and approved educational programs for medical laboratory personnel, visit

National Accreditation Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences

For certification information, visit

American Association of Bioanalysts

American medical technologists

American Society for Clinical Pathology

Frequent questions

Where does this information come from?

The above career information is taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.occupational outlook handbook. This excellent occupational data resource is published by the US Department of Labor every two years. Truity regularly updates our website with information from the BLS database.

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There is no published author for this page. Use citation guidelines for web pages without an available author.

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This information is taken directly from the Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Truity does not editorialize information, including editing information our readers believe to be inaccurate, because we believe the BLS is the authority on occupational information. However, if you would like to correct a typographical or other technical error, you may contact us

I'm not sure if this career is right for me. How can I decide?

There are many great tools available that will allow you to assess your interests, create a personality profile, and match those traits with appropriate careers. On this site, you can get theProfessional personality profileevaluation, theholland codeevaluation or thePhotography Career Quiz.

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