Those wishing to become a lab technician can do so by earning a degree or certificate, passing any necessary certifications and obtaining a job. Lab technicians collect samples and perform scientific tests on blood, tissues and other substances. Approximately 50 percent of lab technicians work in hospitals and the median salary is $37,240, notes a 2012 report by the United States Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS).
The following steps can be used to pursue a career as a lab technician.
- Obtain a degree of certificate
- Pass a certification examination
- Find a job
Students should enroll in an associate degree program in clinical laboratory science. This degree will teach students topics such as biology, chemistry and laboratory procedures. Programs also offer clinical rotations to help students develop their lab skills. Those who already have a degree can consider a 1-year certificate program instead.
Many employers prefer lab technicians to be certified and some states require it. Take and pass a certification exam from an organization, such as the Association of Medical Technologists.
Once people have their degree and certification, they can start applying for lab technician employment. Places to seek out jobs include hospitals, physician offices, diagnostic laboratories and universities. As of 2015, lab technician jobs are expected to continue to rise to 22 percent in 2022 from 2012, states the BLS.