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Become A Mechanical Laboratory Technician

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Working As A Mechanical Laboratory Technician

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

  • Repetitive

  • $50,555

    Average Salary

What Does A Mechanical Laboratory Technician 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 Mechanical Laboratory Technician

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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Mechanical Laboratory Technician Jobs

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Mechanical Laboratory Technician Typical Career Paths

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Average Length of Employment
Test Technician 3.0 years
Top Employers Before
Treasurer 4.1%
Officer 4.1%
Inspector 4.1%
Technician 4.1%
Top Employers After
Technician 6.0%
Owner 6.0%
Crew Chief 4.0%
Fabricator 4.0%

Do you work as a Mechanical Laboratory Technician?

Mechanical Laboratory Technician Demographics

Gender

Male

88.1%

Female

10.2%

Unknown

1.7%
Ethnicity

White

63.2%

Hispanic or Latino

12.7%

Asian

10.1%

Black or African American

10.0%

Unknown

4.0%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Tagalog

33.3%

French

33.3%

Vietnamese

33.3%

Mechanical Laboratory Technician Education

Schools

University of Dayton

7.7%

Ferris State University

7.7%

University of Colorado at Boulder

7.7%

State University of New York College of Agriculture & Technology at Morrisville

7.7%

Eastern Gateway Community College

7.7%

University of Central Oklahoma

7.7%

ITT Technical Institute-Phoenix

3.8%

Lexington Community College

3.8%

Monroe Community College

3.8%

Lone Star College System

3.8%

Hennepin Technical College

3.8%

Auburn Career Center

3.8%

ITT Technical Institute-Seattle

3.8%

Lincoln Technical Institute

3.8%

Cecil Community College

3.8%

Kutztown University of Pennsylvania

3.8%

ITT Technical Institute-Youngstown

3.8%

Onondaga Community College

3.8%

Columbia Southern University

3.8%

Manchester Community College

3.8%
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Majors

Mechanical Engineering

20.3%

Electrical Engineering

15.9%

Automotive Technology

10.1%

Business

5.8%

Electrical Engineering Technology

4.3%

Physics

4.3%

Computer Science

4.3%

Occupational Safety And Health

2.9%

Mechanical Engineering Technology

2.9%

Drafting And Design

2.9%

Psychology

2.9%

Biology

2.9%

Industrial Technology

2.9%

Chemistry

2.9%

Electromechanical Instrumentation And Maintenance Technologies/Technicians

2.9%

Agricultural Business

2.9%

Communication

2.9%

Geography

2.9%

East Asian Languages, Literatures, And Linguistics

1.4%

Computer Information Systems

1.4%
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Degrees

Bachelors

29.3%

Other

28.3%

Associate

23.9%

Certificate

9.8%

Masters

8.7%
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Top Skills for A Mechanical Laboratory Technician

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  1. Laboratory Equipment
  2. Safety
  3. Test Plans
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Lock out Tag out Safety Performed GD&T & measurement procedures in Gauge Lab.
  • Assist Mechanical Lab Engineers in various samples testing.
  • Gained experience with nuclear and engineering equipment and propulsion systems.
  • Designed and implemented test equipment for 4 point bend and Radial bend test for thin Die.
  • Complied by the regulations for ASTM standards Data entry and weekly report on materials tested.

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Top Mechanical Laboratory Technician Employers

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Jobs From Top Mechanical Laboratory Technician Employers

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