There is a growing need for qualified laboratory professionals who use their skills in the detection, diagnosis, and treatment of illness and disease. These professionals are called laboratory technicians, clinical technicians, and scientists. These specialists perform different tests on tissue, blood, and other bodily fluids. Laboratory techs use scientific instruments such as, microscopes, computers, automated analyzers, and cell counters. Laboratory technicians also prepare specimens to be tested.
Technicians can generalize their practice and work in all clinical laboratory settings or there are different areas in which lab techs can specialize. These include: chemistry, immunology, hematology, microbiology, and blood banking. Technicians also carry out their duties under the supervision of a clinical technologist, lab scientist, lab manager or a pathologist. A technician also is responsible for preparing the lab results to be read and interpreted by other medical personnel, maintaining lab records and equipment.
Laboratory technicians are trained to work with and handle infectious material and specimens. While not without risks, when proper safety protocol of infection control and sterilization is followed these risks are greatly reduced. Protective clothing such as, goggles, masks, and gloves are used regularly for the protection of technicians. Laboratory techs usually work in shifts and need to be in relatively good health as they can be standing for long lengths of time.
Laboratory techs receive either a certificate from a teaching hospital, a technical or vocational school, or an associate degree from a community college. Also, different branches of the Armed Forces can train people to become technicians.
Many lab techs work for hospitals. But there are many places a tech can apply. Some of these are: federal labs, public health labs, biomedical companies, universities and colleges, pharmaceutical companies, and the Armed Forces.
The demand for qualified laboratory technicians is on the rise. Over the next few years, employment opportunities for medical techs are expected to increase ten to twenty percent. In a slow economy, this expected growth is very promising. As technology becomes more and more advanced it contributes to the growth in the medical laboratory fields as it opens new ways to discover better medicine and cures for people and disease.