Medical laboratory technicians must obtain an associates degree in medical laboratory technology or a related field from an accredited program and then pass a certification exam. Technicians must complete several hours in a clinical laboratory as part of the education. Alternatively, technicians may take two years of related coursework from an accredited institution or a 50-week medical laboratory training program in the military before passing the certification exam. Technicians may complete additional, specialized coursework after certification.
High school coursework in mathematics, chemistry, biology and computer science is instrumental in obtaining certification. Earning a bachelors degree in medical laboratory technology allows for career advancement to management positions and more complex work and consultation with medical doctors.
Medical laboratory technicians perform laboratory tests to obtain data for doctors in diagnosing and treating disease. They must be able to perform specialized manual techniques utilizing advanced medical equipment. Technicians perform tasks such as analyzing bodily fluids, matching donor blood types and detecting infectious organisms in cells.
Medical laboratory technicians work in settings such as clinical laboratories in hospitals, biotechnology companies, law enforcement laboratories, fertility clinics and transplant and blood donor centers. Many laboratories operate around the clock, allowing technicians significant flexibility in their work schedules.