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Become A Laboratory Technician/Phlebotomist

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Working As A Laboratory Technician/Phlebotomist

  • Processing Information
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Getting Information
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Deal with People

  • Repetitive

  • $44,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Laboratory Technician/Phlebotomist Do

Medical laboratory technologists (commonly known as medical laboratory scientists) and medical laboratory technicians collect samples and perform tests to analyze body fluids, tissue, and other substances.

Duties

Medical 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 by identifying the number of cells, the cell morphology or the 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 a number of tests at the same time
  • Log data from medical tests and enter results into a patient’s medical record
  • Discuss results and findings of laboratory tests and procedures with physicians
  • Supervise or train medical laboratory technicians

Both technicians and technologists perform tests and procedures that physicians and surgeons or other healthcare personnel order. However, technologists perform more complex tests and laboratory procedures than technicians do. For example, technologists may prepare specimens and perform detailed manual tests, whereas technicians perform routine tests that may be more automated. Medical laboratory technicians usually work under the general supervision of medical laboratory technologists 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 specialized medical laboratory technologists:

Blood bank technologists, or immunohematology technologists, collect blood, classify it by type, and prepare blood and its components for transfusions. 

Clinical chemistry technologists prepare specimens and analyze the chemical and hormonal contents of body fluids. 

Cytotechnologists prepare slides of body cells and examine these cells with a microscope for abnormalities that may signal the beginning of a cancerous growth. 

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

Microbiology technologists examine and identify bacteria and other microorganisms. 

Molecular biology technologists perform complex protein and nucleic acid tests on cell samples.

Like technologists, medical laboratory technicians may work in several areas of the laboratory or specialize in one particular area. For example, histotechnicians cut and stain tissue specimens for pathologists, who are doctors who study the cause and development of diseases at a microscopic level.

Technologists and technicians often specialize after they have worked in a particular area for a long time or have received advanced education or training in that area.

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How To Become A Laboratory Technician/Phlebotomist

Medical laboratory technologists typically need a bachelor’s degree. Technicians usually need an associate’s degree or a postsecondary certificate. Some states require technologists and technicians to be licensed.

Education

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

A bachelor’s degree program in medical laboratory technology, also known as a medical laboratory scientist degree, includes courses in chemistry, biology, microbiology, math, and statistics. Coursework emphasizes laboratory skills, including safety procedures and lab management.

The courses may be offered through a university or hospital-based program that students attend during their senior year of college. College graduates who major in other sciences and meet a program’s prerequisites, such as having completed required courses in biology and chemistry or maintaining a certain GPA, also may apply to a medical laboratory science program.

Medical laboratory technicians often complete an associate’s degree program in clinical laboratory science. A limited number of 1-year certificate programs are available from hospitals, and admission requirements vary. The Armed Forces and vocational or technical schools also may offer certificate programs for medical laboratory technicians. Technician coursework addresses the theoretical and practical aspects of each of the major laboratory disciplines.

High school students who are interested in pursuing a career in the medical laboratory sciences should take classes in chemistry, biology, and math.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

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

Certification of medical laboratory technologists and technicians is required for licensure in some states. Although certification is not required to enter the occupation in all cases, employers typically prefer to hire certified technologists and technicians.

Medical laboratory technologists and technicians can obtain a general certification as a medical laboratory technologist or technician, respectively, or a certification in a specialty, such as cytotechnology or medical biology. Most credentialing institutions require that technologists complete an accredited education program in order to qualify to sit for an exam. For more credentialing information, visit the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences.

Important Qualities

Ability to use technology. Medical laboratory technologists and technicians must understand how to operate complex machinery.

Detail oriented. Medical laboratory technologists and technicians must follow exact instructions in order to perform tests or procedures correctly.

Dexterity. Medical laboratory technologists and technicians need to be skilled with their hands. They work closely with needles and precise laboratory instruments and must handle these tools effectively.

Physical stamina. Medical laboratory technologists and technicians may work on their feet for long periods while collecting samples. They may need to lift or turn disabled patients to collect samples for testing.

Advancement

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 medical laboratory technicians advance to technologist positions after gaining experience and additional education.

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Laboratory Technician/Phlebotomist Career Paths

Laboratory Technician/Phlebotomist
Certified Nursing Assistant Licensed Practical Nurse Registered Nurse
Registered Nurse Supervisor
7 Yearsyrs
Certified Nursing Assistant Team Leader Assistant Manager
Operations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Certified Nursing Assistant Technician
Senior Technologist
5 Yearsyrs
Laboratory Technician Technician Consultant
Partner
6 Yearsyrs
Laboratory Technician Quality Assurance Technician Quality Assurance Supervisor
Quality Assurance Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Laboratory Technician Technician Production Supervisor
Warehouse Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Emergency Medical Technician Registered Nurse Clinical Research Coordinator
Senior Clinical Research Coordinator
8 Yearsyrs
Emergency Medical Technician Instructor Research Associate
Laboratory Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Emergency Medical Technician Registered Nurse Registered Nurse Supervisor
Clinical Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Licensed Practical Nurse Registered Nurse Supervisor Case Manager
Patient Care Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Licensed Practical Nurse Registered Nurse Supervisor Supervisor
Site Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Medical Laboratory Technician Clinical Laboratory Scientist Laboratory Manager
Laboratory Director
9 Yearsyrs
Medical Laboratory Technician Staff Nurse Administrator
Practice Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Medical Laboratory Technician Physician Assistant Office Manager
Chief Executive Officer
8 Yearsyrs
Service Technician Foreman Assistant Manager
Center Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Service Technician Foreman Safety Manager
Health Director
9 Yearsyrs
Medical Technologist Medical Technologist, Generalist
Medical Technologist Lead
5 Yearsyrs
Medical Technologist Medical Technologist-Microbiology Medical Technologist, Generalist
Senior Medical Technologist
5 Yearsyrs
Medical Technologist Clinical Coordinator Practice Manager
Clinic Physician Director
8 Yearsyrs
Processor Account Executive Regional Accounts Manager
Client Manager
6 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Laboratory Technician/Phlebotomist?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Phlebotomist 3.1 years
Laboratory Aide 1.9 years
Top Careers Before Laboratory Technician/Phlebotomist
Phlebotomist 25.5%
Cashier 4.6%
Internship 2.8%
Top Careers After Laboratory Technician/Phlebotomist
Phlebotomist 29.5%
Cashier 2.8%
Technician 2.2%

Do you work as a Laboratory Technician/Phlebotomist?

How Would You Rate The Salary Of a Laboratory Technician/Phlebotomist?

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Top Skills for A Laboratory Technician/Phlebotomist

  1. Lab Equipment
  2. Laboratory Specimens
  3. Urine Samples
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Maintained documentation, familiarization with lab equipment, coordination and information resource for nursing staff and medical staff.
  • Prepare laboratory specimens for designated departments prior to testing and analysis.
  • Collected blood and urine samples, transported lab specimens, and recorded medical information of the patient.
  • Screened donors in by taking their blood pressure, temperature, checking their weight, iron and protein levels.
  • Collected specimens using venipuncture, capillary, and heel-stick procedures.

Laboratory Technician/Phlebotomist Demographics

Gender

Female

66.5%

Male

20.0%

Unknown

13.5%
Ethnicity

White

60.7%

Hispanic or Latino

16.2%

Black or African American

11.7%

Asian

7.3%

Unknown

4.1%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

57.4%

French

9.3%

Hindi

5.6%

Portuguese

3.7%

Japanese

3.7%

German

3.7%

Tagalog

3.7%

Italian

3.7%

Welsh

1.9%

Ilocano

1.9%

Urdu

1.9%

Polish

1.9%

Korean

1.9%
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Laboratory Technician/Phlebotomist Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

17.9%

Everest Institute

7.5%

Remington College

7.5%

Kaplan University

7.5%

Ashford University

5.2%

The Community College of Baltimore County

4.5%

Sinclair Community College

4.5%

Horry-Georgetown Technical College

4.5%

Concorde Career College

4.5%

Houston Community College

3.7%

Southwestern College

3.7%

Baltimore City Community College

3.7%

Coppin State University

3.7%

Bryant and Stratton College

3.7%

Cincinnati State Technical and Community College

3.0%

Catawba Valley Community College

3.0%

Sojourner-Douglass College

3.0%

Meridian Community College

3.0%

The Academy

3.0%

Jefferson State Community College

3.0%
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Majors

Medical Assisting Services

22.4%

Nursing

19.3%

Clinical/Medical Laboratory Science

7.4%

Health Care Administration

6.7%

Medical Technician

6.7%

Business

6.2%

Biology

5.6%

Nursing Assistants

3.7%

Criminal Justice

2.8%

General Studies

2.6%

Psychology

2.5%

Clinical Psychology

1.9%

Education

1.8%

Communication

1.7%

Health Sciences And Services

1.6%

Health/Medical Preparatory Programs

1.4%

Liberal Arts

1.4%

Chemistry

1.4%

Public Health

1.3%

Physician Assistant

1.3%
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Degrees

Other

39.3%

Bachelors

18.1%

Associate

15.8%

Certificate

11.7%

Diploma

6.5%

Masters

6.4%

License

1.3%

Doctorate

0.9%
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