Laboratory technicians are medical professionals who work in the laboratory. They are responsible for the equipment in the laboratory, making sure tools are properly sanitized and sterilized after every use. They also ensure that laboratory equipment works well. Laboratory technicians may also be responsible for collecting and testing samples from patients. They prepare solutions and other chemicals that may be needed for testing. They also provide an analysis of the samples that they tested. Laboratory technicians ensure that all items in the laboratory are properly labeled and organized.

Laboratory Technician Responsibilities

Here are examples of responsibilities from real laboratory technician resumes representing typical tasks they are likely to perform in their roles.

  • Lead aerobic, anaerobic and UV light testing, chemical residue testing and centrifuge to separate chemicals from water.
  • Manage patient, and corporate information with compassion and confidentiality.
  • Analyze and paid attention to detail as well as demonstrated excellent organization skills, manual dexterity and good eyesight.
  • Monitor patients' blood pressure and heart rate with EKG equipment and notify physician is something appears to be wrong.
  • Monitor several color formulations being manufacture in the production department to ensure manufacturing procedures are follow per ISO and GMP.
  • Perform age appropriate phlebotomy while working with critically or terminally ill patients, with careful respect for individual and/or cultural concerns.
  • Perform routine specimen processing, analysis and resulting of hematology, microbiology, chemistry, urinalysis, serology and blood samples.
  • Perform western blots and southern blots, ELISA, RIA, and dot-blots.
  • Create assay worksheets for sample testing.
  • Run all stat orders for urgent aid.
  • Prepare, maintain and evaluate SPC charts.
  • Perform metals screening utilizing the ICP and AA.
  • Organize and maintain QA for laboratory clean room.
  • Record results of chemical tests for SPC analysis.
  • Certify in basic life support, including CPR.

Laboratory Technician Skills and Personality Traits

We calculated that 17% of Laboratory Technicians are proficient in Patients, Lab Equipment, and Customer Service. They’re also known for soft skills such as Ability to use technology, Interpersonal skills, and Observation skills.

We break down the percentage of Laboratory Technicians that have these skills listed on their resume here:

  • Patients, 17%

    Provided detailed reports on concentrations of key antigens or antibody responses to determine infection/exposure status of patients and experimental animals.

  • Lab Equipment, 8%

    Assisted and advised other lab workers, performed maintenance/repair of lab equipment and ordered laboratory supplies as required.

  • Customer Service, 6%

    Provided high-level customer service to medical hospital and laboratory vendors, insure order accuracy and resolved problems with corrective actions.

  • Basic Math, 4%

    Performed basic mathematical calculations and data manipulations, which require the use of a computer or calculator.

  • Test Results, 4%

    Performed routine and complex microbiological laboratory tests in the Infectious Disease Division to provide rapid and accurate laboratory test results.

  • Math, 4%

    Tutored students in math, science, and computer classes on a walk-in and scheduled basis with marked improvement in scores.

Most laboratory technicians list "patients," "lab equipment," and "customer service" as skills on their resumes. We go into more details on the most important laboratory technician responsibilities here:

  • The most important skills for a laboratory technician to have in this position are ability to use technology. In this excerpt that we gathered from a laboratory technician resume, you'll understand why: "chemical technicians must set up, operate, troubleshoot, and repair sophisticated equipment and instruments" According to resumes we found, ability to use technology can be used by a laboratory technician in order to "requisitioned testing samples according fda variance guidelines and shipped according to department of transportation standards for biological substances, category b. "
  • While it may not be the most important skill, we found that many laboratory technician duties rely on interpersonal skills. This example from a laboratory technician explains why: "chemical technicians must work well with others as part of a team because they often work with scientists, engineers, and other technicians." This resume example is just one of many ways laboratory technicians are able to utilize interpersonal skills: "cited for excellence in interpersonal communications, teamwork, customer service, flexibility and reliability. "
  • Another skill that is quite popular among laboratory technicians is observation skills. This skill is very critical to fulfilling every day responsibilities as is shown in this example from a laboratory technician resume: "chemical technicians must carefully monitor chemical experiments and processes to note any unusual or unexpected results observed during an experiment" This example from a resume shows how this skill is used: "hosted fda inspectors and responded to agency recommendations and observations. "
  • In order for certain laboratory technician responsibilities to be completed, the job requires the skill "time-management skills." According to a laboratory technician resume, "chemical technicians often work on multiple tasks and projects at the same time and must prioritize their assignments." As an example, this snippet was taken directly from a resume about how this skill applies: "adhered to deadlines for required paperwork and data entry for state and federal guidelines. "
  • Another common skill for a laboratory technician to be able to utilize is "analytical skills." Chemical technicians must conduct scientific experiments with accuracy and precision. A laboratory technician demonstrated the need for this skill by putting this on their resume: "performed monthly/quarterly maintenance in accordance with fda compliance and avoided analyzer downtime. "
  • Another skill commonly found on laboratory technician resumes is "communication skills." This description of the skill was found on several laboratory technician resumes: "chemical technicians must explain their work to scientists and engineers, and to workers who may not have a technical background" Here's an example from a resume of how this skill could fit into the day-to-day laboratory technician responsibilities: "maintained record keeping and daily communication with operations, team leads, management, and fda inspectors. "
  • See the full list of laboratory technician skills.

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    What Chemical Technicians Do

    A chemical technician is responsible for supporting chemists and laboratory technicians in performing laboratory investigations and examining chemical components and structures. Chemical technicians ensure the stability of laboratory tools and equipment, performing proper sterilization and segregation of disposable materials, and maintaining the adequacy of inventory. They also record the research progress, including scientific methods, and write observation reports for reference. A chemical technician manages the cleanliness and orderliness of the facility to avoid potential hazards and complications during chemical operations.

    In this section, we compare the average laboratory technician annual salary with that of a chemical technician. Typically, chemical technicians earn a $2,546 higher salary than laboratory technicians earn annually.

    Even though laboratory technicians and chemical technicians have vast differences in their careers, a few of the skills required to do both jobs are similar. For example, both careers require lab equipment, test results, and math in the day-to-day roles.

    These skill sets are where the common ground ends though. A laboratory technician responsibility is more likely to require skills like "patients," "customer service," "basic math," and "dexterity." Whereas a chemical technician requires skills like "safety procedures," "chemical inventory," "analytical equipment," and "hazardous waste." Just by understanding these different skills you can see how different these careers are.

    Chemical technicians tend to make the most money in the pharmaceutical industry by averaging a salary of $66,439. In contrast, laboratory technicians make the biggest average salary of $38,662 in the health care industry.

    On average, chemical technicians reach similar levels of education than laboratory technicians. Chemical technicians are 2.1% less likely to earn a Master's Degree and 0.6% less likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.

    What Are The Duties Of a Laboratory Coordinator?

    A laboratory coordinator is responsible for supporting laboratory examinations and experiments, collecting laboratory samples, and ensuring the efficiency and performance of laboratory tools and equipment. Laboratory coordinators maintain the cleanliness and orderliness of the laboratory facility at all times to avoid contaminations and hazards that may affect laboratory results and accuracy of examinations. They also perform scientific processes under the supervision of a scientist or laboratory technicians and keep an organized report of findings in the database.

    Now we're going to look at the laboratory coordinator profession. On average, laboratory coordinators earn a $12,652 higher salary than laboratory technicians a year.

    Not everything about these jobs is different. Take their skills, for example. Laboratory technicians and laboratory coordinators both include similar skills like "patients," "lab equipment," and "test results" on their resumes.

    While some skills are similar in these professions, other skills aren't so similar. For example, several resumes showed us that laboratory technician responsibilities requires skills like "customer service," "basic math," "math," and "dexterity." But a laboratory coordinator might use skills, such as, "patient care," "chemistry," "laboratory safety," and "qc."

    On average, laboratory coordinators earn a higher salary than laboratory technicians. There are industries that support higher salaries in each profession respectively. Interestingly enough, laboratory coordinators earn the most pay in the pharmaceutical industry with an average salary of $57,789. Whereas, laboratory technicians have higher paychecks in the health care industry where they earn an average of $38,662.

    In general, laboratory coordinators study at higher levels of education than laboratory technicians. They're 10.2% more likely to obtain a Master's Degree while being 0.6% more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

    What Technology Do You Think Will Become More Important And Prevalent For Laboratory Technicians In The Next 3-5 Years?

    Gerald Bergtrom Ph.D.

    Professor of Biological Sciences (Emeritus) & Teaching & Learning Consultant, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

    -In any STEM field, predicting, recognizing, and fighting climate change looms large. In the life sciences, detecting the effects of environmental change at the species, individual, cellular, and molecular level will be increasingly necessary.
    -Medical science will need to respond to new challenges arising out of climate change and the aging population. Supported (as always) by basic sciences, medical science will focus on big-picture biology, represented by the ever-growing number of "...omics". These include genomics, proteomics, transcriptomics, metabolomics... and the enabling technologies that let us look at a lot of genes, gene products, and biochemical reactions at the same time. Finally, the ever-improving gene-editing technologies can lead to the treatment of disease, leading to a greater understanding of the disease and biological process in general.
    Show more

    How a Laboratory Supervisor Compares

    The primary job of laboratory supervisors is to oversee the daily operations of laboratories. They are responsible for facilitating the collection, analysis, and interpretation of laboratory results. Other responsibilities include supervising personnel, managing the operating budget of the laboratory, and hiring employees. Laboratory supervisors are responsible for overseeing quality assurance and enforcing practices to ensure quality control within the laboratory. Aside from these tasks, they also manage the acquisition of laboratory equipment and supplies and resolve any technical or administrative issues within the laboratory.

    The laboratory supervisor profession generally makes a higher amount of money when compared to the average salary of laboratory technicians. The difference in salaries is laboratory supervisors making $27,323 higher than laboratory technicians.

    By looking over several laboratory technicians and laboratory supervisors resumes, we found that both roles utilize similar skills, such as "patients," "lab equipment," and "customer service." But beyond that the careers look very different.

    Some important key differences between the two careers are a few of the skills necessary to fulfill responsibilities. Some examples from laboratory technician resumes include skills like "basic math," "math," "dexterity," and "data entry," whereas a laboratory supervisor might be skilled in "clinical laboratory," "chemistry," "patient care," and "corrective action. "

    Laboratory supervisors make a very good living in the health care industry with an average annual salary of $77,667. Whereas laboratory technicians are paid the highest salary in the health care industry with the average being $38,662.

    Laboratory supervisors typically study at higher levels compared with laboratory technicians. For example, they're 6.4% more likely to graduate with a Master's Degree, and 0.7% more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

    Description Of a Quality Control Technician

    Usually assigned in a manufacturing plant, a quality control technician's role focuses on testing and assessing materials before, after, and during a production process to ensure its efficiency. They also have responsibilities in implementing the policies and regulations of the company, all to maintain a safe and productive working environment for every employee. Furthermore, a quality control technician must produce necessary reports and documentation, coordinate with managers and supervisors, maintain accurate documentation, and oversee a team to secure quality standard outcomes.

    Quality control technicians tend to earn a higher pay than laboratory technicians by about $299 per year.

    While both laboratory technicians and quality control technicians complete day-to-day tasks using similar skills like lab equipment, customer service, and basic math, the two careers also vary in other skills.

    While some skills are shared by these professions, there are some differences to note. "patients," "dexterity," "ct scan," and "phlebotomy" are skills that have shown up on laboratory technicians resumes. Additionally, quality control technician uses skills like quality control tests, asphalt, quality products, and quality standards on their resumes.

    Quality control technicians earn a higher salary in the health care industry with an average of $45,814. Whereas, laboratory technicians earn the highest salary in the health care industry.

    The average resume of quality control technicians showed that they earn similar levels of education to laboratory technicians. So much so that the likelihood of them earning a Master's Degree is 1.0% less. Additionally, they're less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree by 0.4%.

    What a Laboratory Technician Does FAQs

    How Much Money Does A Lab Technician Make An Hour?

    The amount of money lab technicians make per hour is between $15.00 and $30.00. These hourly wages reflect both the experience of the candidate as well as the type of work environment.

    Entry-level technicians working outside of a medical lab earn an average of $15.00 per hour. These technicians may be working in a private lab, conducting tests, or gathering data for a private company. Technicians working in medical labs earn an entry-level hourly wage of $19.00 per hour.

    What Career Path Is A Lab Technician?

    The Career Path of a Lab Technician is:

    • The medical field; working in a hospital lab running tests and recording data

    • Industrial setting; processing data in an office setting

    • Outdoor setting; conducting environmental tests on soil and water

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