A Comprehensive Guide to Become a Medical Laboratory Technician

Are you curious to know what happens inside a medical lab? Wondering how to become a medical laboratory technician? Well, you have spotted a fair place! Hold your seat belt tight, I will take you through A to Z of becoming a medical lab technician. 

Who is a Medical Laboratory Technician

Before going any further, let’s take a look at the definition of a medical laboratory technician.

 

Medical laboratory technicians are the persons who work in a medical laboratory. They assist physicians in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases by performing tests on tissue, blood, and other body fluids. 

 

Generally, they work in hospitals or doctor’s offices under the supervision of lab technologists or physicians. Also, they work with sophisticated pieces of lab equipment to help doctors and surgeons to determine the best action for their patients. Their role is to support and cooperate with other medical professionals and exhibit positivity. 

Specialised field

Medical laboratory technicians have to be specialised in the following domains:

 

Medical Microbiology

It is related to the diseases causing microorganisms. Medical technicians isolate the microorganisms for identification and susceptibility to antibiotic treatments.

Clinical Chemistry

Technicians analyse blood and other biological substances to aid the diagnosis. They convey toxicological studies, test kidney and liver functions. Similarly, they help in monitoring therapies. 

Blood Banking

They support the hospital’s blood bank and transfusion service. They perform blood grouping tests and ensure whether the blood group of donor matches the patient or not.

Haematology

It involves identifying abnormalities in different blood cells. This is crucial to detect diseases like leukaemia and anaemia.

Histopathology

Medical lab technicians collect tissue samples from surgical operations and autopsies. After that, these are processed for microscopy.

Cytology

It is related to the diseases causing microorganisms. Medical technicians isolate the microorganisms for identification and susceptibility to antibiotic treatments.

Virology

This study is related to viruses like herpes simplex, rubella, HIV, corona, etc. They also screen selected people who are at risk from virus diseases.  

Immunology

It deals with the body’s immune system and its functions in infectious diseases, tissue grafts, allergies, etc. 

guide to become a medical laboratory technician

What are the responsibilities?

There are a bunch of duties that a medical laboratory technician needs to perform. Here I’m listing some of them. This might help you to understand better.

  • Sort and match sample labelling with computer order.
  • Run tests and provide test results
  • Arrange reports for delivery
  • Run standard, controlled and verified equipment
  • Maintain quality results
  • Track quality control estimation and protocols
  • Set up and sanitize the lab
  • Run blood compatibility test for transfusion
  • Analyse chemical content of the sample fluid
  • Pile up the blood samples
  • Scan immune system elements
  • Alert supervisory personnel if any unwanted patient conditions occur
  • Keep all the patient and laboratory information confidential
  • Maintain the hospital’s blood bank database
  • Check the donor’s blood to ensure patient safety

My my, being a lab technician is not a piece of cake!

Are you bored with the basics? I know you are an aware fellow! 

Determine It is The Right Profession You want

Before digging any more, I want you to ask yourself a few questions. Answering these questions is required.

 

Is it the right profession for you? 

 

Can you cope with the stress level and fast-paced environment? 

 

Are you the one who always thrives for new experiences?

 

Do you have sympathy and willpower to help others? 

 

Are you transparent enough to keep up your employer institution’s integrity? 

 

Are you good at data analysis? 

 

Do you love to be not in the spotlight? 

 

And last but not the least, are you okay with the medicinal stinky smells? 

professional as medical laboratory technician

How to Become a Medical Laboratory Technician

Now the core part of the blog. The part you are here for. 

 

You don’t need to scour the internet to collect bits of information, I’ve compiled all the necessary information and cut the petty one.

1. Courses

You can get into this profession either of the following ways:

A university course​

For being a medical laboratory technician you can do a foundation degree or higher national diploma or degree course in biology, chemistry, physics, and forensic science.

Entry Requirements:
  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English, maths and science
  • 3 ‘A’ levels or equal

A college course

You can amplify your chances of getting a job. What you need is a college course like a Level 2 Certificate or Level 3 Diploma in Applied Science. A level in chemistry, biology, and physics will also help you. 

Entry Requirements:
  • For a level 2 course: 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or parallel
  • For a level 2 course: 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or identical

An apprenticeship

An advanced apprenticeship will make it easier to get into this sector.

Entry Requirements:
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or similar, compulsory subjects are English, maths, and science.
Education Requirement for Medical Laboratory Technician

An apprenticeship

A fantastic way to become a lab tech is online courses. They are short and convenient. Typically they take 1 year to complete the course. Prerequisite is a high school diploma. 

 

Online courses give you a scope to learn from home. You can take part in your classes at your suitable time. Also, you can manage work, family, friends, and classes with ease. The best part is you can attend classes in your comfy pyjamas and get certified. What’s more a person ask for!

2. Get a License

Not all laboratories look for a licensed employee but some state and employer may require it. So why narrowing your field? You can get a license from the concerned authority of your country to be in the safe zone.

3. Brush up your skills

Before espying for a job, know what the employers want. So that you can fine-tune your skills. You have a fancy to work as a lab technician. To grab it, you have to vanquish your hard and soft skills.

Technical forte:

  • Quality control and assurance
  • Laboratory testing
  • Patient care
  • Chemistry
  • Microbiology
  • Phlebotomy
  • Data entry
  • Occupational health and safety
  • Customer service

Soft skills:

  • Organise
  • Hard-working
  • Rigorous attention to details
  • Research
  • Research
  • Quick thinking
  • Problem-solving
  • Honesty
  • Integrity
  • Time management
  • Well coordination of eye with hand
  • Flexibility in working

Hey there, what are you thinking? Do you have all of them? Then you are already fit for this fussy yet fancy profession! If you don’t have one, not to worry. You will do fine. Just be positive. 

4. Search and secure a job

Now that you are deep-rooted, you can search for employment.   

 

There are plenty of medical and research facilities. They need hundreds of professional medical laboratory technicians. 

 

Usually, as a medical lab technician, you can look in hospitals, doctor’s offices, specialized clinics, and medical labs for the job. These are the common platform. 

 

If you are sweet on researching, you can join a research lab, universities, blood banks, pharmaceutical manufacturers, public health organizations, etc. 

Pro tips comprehensive guide to become a medical laboratory technician

Career prospects

You will develop your career with the following hierarchy:

  • Assistant technician
  • Technician
  • Senior/lead technician
  • Team leader technician
  • Laboratory manager

Advance Your Walk of Life

Is only getting a job enough for you? Or do you want to advance in your professional life?

 

The path of your career doesn’t end after your job confirmation. A huge field is waiting for you. While gathering work experience you can specialise and certified on one or more specific subdivisions. Moreover, advanced education provides greater scopes within a variety of organizations. You can easily switch from one place to another. Also for getting higher post additional qualification is a must apart from work experience. 

What are the learning pay-offs?

The world is running through trade-offs. You are probably thinking that what you will get after all these dire straits. Well, no hardship goes in vain. 

 

While this job entails lots of skills, there are also some excellent learning outcomes.

  • Medical terminology which helps you to work with other medical professionals
  • Specific and detailed practices of record-keeping
  • Learn sampling methodology
  • Become expert on using technical apparatus
  • Conduct accurate preparation tasks
  • Dope out testing and recording
  • Have much knowledge about medicinal facts
  • All-inclusive practical knowledge about the technical apparatus
  • Become a pro in health, safety, and sanitation
  • Enlighten about scientific procedures
  • You will become bolder

In addition, the employers feed their assigned laboratory technicians with proper training. This involves on-the-job training under the supervision of an experienced laboratory technician, which may be supplemented by internal or external courses.

Working Hours

This the hardest and coldest part of this line of work. 

 

Generally, the working time is 37 hours per week. But, it doesn’t end here. Additional hours are required every now and then. Some organisations like the National Health Service in England may include shifts and on-call duties. 

 

Don’t worry about the work, you will find it pretty rewarding.

Is It a Good Career?

My straight forward answer will be: Yes, it is

 

Now I’m telling you why.

 

It is one of the most gratifying and edifying jobs. The demands for this job is skyrocketing. So the opportunities are on its way up. Over 80,000 medical lab technicians are working in the United Kingdom. Employers include national and local government, the National Health Service (NHS), manufacturing and service industries, research laboratories, charitable organisations, universities, colleges and schools, and forensic science laboratories, etc.

 

We are well aware that the number of hospitals, doctors, laboratories, and medical researchers is increasing. In their labs, they need someone to work with, right?

 

So not to worry about whether it is a good one or not. Because it is one of the top drawers!

What about the Remuneration?

Frankly speaking, this profession is well compensated. Below I’ve listed the scenario in the United Kingdom:

  • In the United Kingdom, the average medical laboratory technician’s yearly salary is about £20,846.
  • Depending on your entry qualifications the starting quantity can range from £15,000 to £19,000.
  • With some prior experience, you can expect to earn from £20,000 to £25,000.
  • When you are promoted to senior management or supervisory roles, the quantity can jump up to the range between £30,000 and £40,000.

But but but, this happy scene doesn’t end here! Some private companies or companies occupied with high tech and sensitive facilities mind to pay more! Moreover, on-call and overtime duties have additional payments. Voila!  

 

A well-to-do profession, innit?

medical-laboratory-technician-salary

Is it a hard nut to crack?

Well, well, it is a tough job. It is stressful both physically and mentally. 

 

If you work in a hospital you will often feel broken. Sometimes you will adore the patients and unfortunately, some will die. This will give you heartache. But many of them will cure and leave the hospital with a big smile. It is heartwarming, your soul will fill with joy. This a head to head situation, I must say!

 

Apart from this, sometimes you have to work at the weekends. There is also night shifts. You see, the job is quite tiring.

 

But I guarantee, all the happy outcomes will turn a blind eye on the cons you will. The love from happy patients will not allow boredom to drag you behind.

Winding-up

Here you are, my medical lab technician. I believe, now you are all set to roar in the field of humanity, the field of joy and adventure. 

 

I hope you have found the information you were looking for. I have tried to cover every nook and corner of the process to become a medical laboratory technician. This blog is also intended to put some light on your route of being a pro in medical lab craftsman.    

 

What are you waiting for? Don’t waste your time. Start the preparation right away. This field is waiting for you to take the floor.

August 27, 2020

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