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Lab Technician Job Description
The term “lab technicians” mainly refers to clinical lab technicians. They work in clinical laboratories of hospitals and diagnostic centers. Clinical labs play a crucial role in diagnosing diseases and help physicians in determining their course of treatment. Lab technicians test different body fluids and submit reports of their findings.
Lab technicians work in modern laboratories and with sophisticated equipment. They wear protective gear and take precautions so as to not come into contact of any body fluids of patients directly and make sure that they are not infected by the process of testing. Their responsibilities are to:
1) Collect fluid samples from patients. The fluid samples may include: blood, urine, saliva, sputum, phlegm and semen. Those who collect blood samples are called phlebotomists.
2) Test sample collected to determine the presence of bacteria, virus or any other disease causing micro organisms.
3) They also test the body’s blood sugar levels, thyroid levels and other hormonal levels of the body.
4) While clinical technologists handle more complex lab tests, lab technicians perform manual tests strictly according to the procedures.
5) They work with automated analyzers without changing much in the testing equipment. Technologists on the other hand have better understanding of lab equipment and can vary their parameters.
6) Lab technicians work under the supervision of lab technologists or lab managers.
7) They cut and stain tissue specimen for testing pathologists. They are known as histo-technicians.
Knowledge and Skills
1) Lab technicians must be very calm and collected.
2) Have to be very adept at handling testing equipment.
3) Have a keen eye to detect any variation in color or substance.
4) Must be able to perform under pressure.
Educational Qualifications and Experience
1) A certificate course from a hospital, vocational school, technical school, or the Armed Forces is essential for lab technician jobs. An associate degree from a junior college or a community college also serves the purpose.
2) There are 479 courses accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools can accredit laboratory workers.
3) Board of Registry of the American Society of Clinical Pathology and the National Credentialing Agency for Laboratory Personnel are some of the certifying bodies for lab technicians. Certification from these organizations may improve their chances of getting a job.
Salary and Benefits
1) According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, lab technicians earn a mean salary in the range of $34,130-$48,040.
2) Their hourly wages vary between $16.41 and $23.10.