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What does lab tech training typically consist of?

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Clinical laboratory technician training that is part of an associate degree program typically consists of basic sciences, such as biology and chemistry, along with specialized courses like medical terminology and hematology. Lab technicians who learn on the job or in a hospital or vocational certificate program focus on lab methodology and practice rather than on the underlying science. Non-clinical lab techs often hold a bachelor's degree in the relevant sciences, which may be life sciences, physics or geology.

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Other clinical lab tech courses at the associate degree level include bacteriology, clinical chemistry and urinalysis. Courses for a bachelor's degree in clinical lab science include human genetics, body fluid chemistry, clinical microbiology and lab science research along with general education courses. Training consists of lab practice as well as textbooks. Some programs require lab internships. Some states require clinical lab techs to have professional licensing.

Clinical lab techs work in hospitals, clinics, commercial labs and research labs. Lab specialties include pulmonary function, hematology, blood bank, histocompatibility and flow cytometry. Lab techs may move into lab management, clinical trial research, infection control in hospitals or lab information systems technology. They may become educators in lab technology or work as forensic scientists in government labs.

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