Are you thinking about a healthcare career? Well, this would be the best time to start a career as a Medical Lab Technician, also known as Diagnostic Technician.
A medical lab technician works behind the scene, and the role is usually not discussed that often. A rewarding career in the medical field is an excellent alternative to the extremely selective and stressful careers such as doctor or nurse.
So, what do lab technicians do? What does the job entail? How much will you be earning? Will I have job stability? We all have a million questions before making an important career choice. This guide will answer your questions and help you make an informed decision.
What is a Medical Lab Technician?
Medical lab techs work in lab settings and conduct test on specimens, record results and data and work with lab equipment. They have no direct dealing with patients; however, they benefit from their work.
The tests conducted by lab technician will help identify harmful microorganisms, chemical reactions or any other abnormalities. The results also determine blood count and safety for transfusion. Lab technicians usually specialize in areas such as phlebotomy, immunology, urinalysis and cytotechnology.
What are the Medical Lab Technician duties and responsibilities?
Duties of medical lab technician are different from medical lab technologist, which is the other occupation. A diagnostic technician has similar tasks every day, but different projects, problems to solve and urgent cases that must be dealt with. Some of the everyday tasks that you will be doing include:
- Collect blood, tissue as well other specimen samples to provide analysis
- Set up and maintain laboratory equipment
- Perform medical research
- Provide support not only for physicians but also for specialists
- Supervise as well as instruct other laboratory technicians and assistants
- Prepare vaccines and serums
- Test raw materials to provide analysis
- Operating the machinery in the lab
- Making sure of cleanliness and safety in the lab
Lab technicians play a vital role in patient’s diagnostic process. The tests you run will help the doctor further analyze and suggest further course of action.
You’ll be working in a lab, which may be designed for one person or a complete team of lab techs. Significant time is spent moving from machine to desk and back to lab equipment.
Most lab technicians work with other techs, doctors, nurses, as well as administrative personnel. The patient interaction is minimal, however, in a small facility, you might take on multiple roles at once. Lab technicians have a strict dress code and have to maintain safety regulations by wearing eye shields, gloves and other protective equipment.
Medical lab technicians work in a variety of facilities and organizations:
- Private Laboratories
- Public Health Organizations
- Research and Development Facilities
Job Outlook & Salary
One of the questions you must ask while considering a new career is, what would be the future job prospects and will this career be in demand?
Canada is currently facing a shortage of trained lab technicians due to the ageing population. According to Job Bank Canada, job opportunities for medical laboratory technicians and pathologists’ assistants are fair in Ontario over the next 3 years. The employment is expected to remain stable in the Greater Toronto Area.
The median hourly salary for a medical lab technician in Canada is C$25/hr. The average hourly wage for lab technician in the Toronto region is C$23/hr. However, with experience under your belt, you can earn up to C$40/hr in Greater Toronto Area.
Education and Certification
The career path sounds interesting and projected job outlook and salary excite you. How should you get started, what qualifies you for the job? You will need at least a certificate or diploma in a medical laboratory technician program. Career colleges offer short duration programs that help you enter the workforce quickly.
Students might need to get a professional license before they can start working. In Ontario, students need to get certified from the Medical Laboratory Professionals’ Association of Ontario (MLPAO). Medical Laboratory Assistant/Technicians are not regulated. If you want to advance a career, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in medical technology is suggested, which will allow you to become a medical laboratory technologist.
BizTech College offers a 31-week Medical Laboratory Technician diploma program that helps you become job-ready. Clinical placements provided by the college, give students hands-on training in an actual lab setting.
Let’s face it, at a certain point, we all feel the need for change. And, it is always good to have further career advancement or alternative careers to fall back on. With additional education and training, you can choose related domains such as biological or chemical technician, veterinary technician or decide to become an educator.
We hope this article will help you in making an informed decision and answer what and how questions about the Medical Lab Technician career. Our subject matter experts are happy to help you further with any additional queries, reach us at +1 (905) 212 9039.