The job of a laboratory technician: Is it a good career?

As you may know, the health care sector is one of the fastest-growing industries at the moment, and unlike other industries, this growth is not expected to shrink due to an aging population. If you are interested in getting a job in the medical field, but you do not see yourself as a doctor, dentist, or nurse, a laboratory technician job may be the best option for you.

In this article, you are going to learn the pros and cons of this profession. Get a solid grasp of it and decide if this is the job for you. We will discuss:

  1. What is the job of a laboratory technician?
  2. What are some important medical laboratory techician skills?
  3. Is medical laboratory technician a job for you?
  4. How much is earned in a laboratory technician position?
  5. Is the role of a medical laboratory technician stressful?
  6. What is the employment outlook for a medical laboratory technician?
  7. How do you become a medical lab techician?
  8. Where can you find a medical lab technician job?

1.      What is the job of a laboratory technician?

Medical lab technicians perform laboratory tests using advanced equipment. To accomplish this, they realize a broad range of tasks. Some of these tasks include:

  • Collecting basic samples from patients.
  • Analyzing bodily tissues and fluids such as blood or urine.
  • Drug-Testing fluids such as sweat, blood, and urine.
  • Preparing solutions or reagents to add to samples.
  • Analyzing antibody compatibility for successful blood transfusions and transplants.
  • Preparing microbiological cultures.
  • Prepping, maintaining, calibrating, and sterilizing lab equipment.

As a med lab technician, your schedule may vary depending on the place you work. The vast majority of lab tech jobs are during the day with full-time hours. Yet, there are also laboratory tech jobs with night or weekend shifts, so, you will have the option to choose depending on your needs.

1.1.            Medical lab tech specialties

The tasks mentioned above will likely vary depending on the specific area in which you specialize. For example, if you apply for a laboratory technician job focused on microbiology, you will likely have tasks centered around preparing and analyzing microbiological cultures. Meanwhile, if you work in a blood band, you will be taking and analyzing blood samples most of the time.

Other common med laboratory tech specialties include:

  • Clinical chemistry.
  • Molecular biology.

It is noteworthy that your salary will also vary depending on your specialty. For instance, Research and Science oriented specialties like microbiology or immunology usually have better salaries. On the contrary, more practical specialties like Blood Banking tend to yield an average income on the salary scale.

2.      What are some important medical laboratory technician skills?

At this point, it should be obvious that most of a medical laboratory technician’s job is centered around the lab. So, it should not be surprising that some technical skills are required for the job. But many transferrable skills are just as significant to be successful in this career. We used labor analysis software that analyzes more than 100,000 Med lab technician jobs posted over the last year. This data helped us recognize the top skills employers are looking for in potential med lab technicians.

2.1.             Top technical skills for medical lab technicians

According to this data, the top technical skills for medical lab technicians are data entry, microbiology, chemistry, physiology, phlebotomy, laboratory testing, and lab equipment management. Other skills such as occupational health and safety, quality assurance and control, patient care, and customer service are also important.

2.2.              Top transferable skills for medical lab technicians

The most important transferable skills for a laboratory technician job are computer literacy, problem-solving, attention to detail, physical ability, troubleshooting, and research. Other less important skills are communication, organization, friendliness and manners, teamwork, and Microsoft office.

If you have some of the transferable skills cited above, you may be a natural fit for a med lab tech career. Most importantly, do not let the tech skills scare you. Those are the kinds of skills taught in a Med Lab Technician program.

3.      Is medical laboratory technician a job for you?

Are you the kind of person who takes extra time to make sure every single detail is correct? Do you like order and routine in your life? If the answer to those questions is yes, chances are you should keep reading. Here we will ask some questions that will let you know if a lab technician job is ideal for you.

3.1.            Do you like science?

Med lab technicians generally have a solid foundation in biology, chemistry, and physiology. Above all, knowledge of the different tissues, cells, and microorganisms is required, as well as an understanding of chemical principles.

If these topics are interesting to you, that is a great sign you would enjoy a job as a medical lab tech, most lab technicians are fascinated in figuring out what is the illness of the patient, and more importantly, how to treat it.

3.2.            Are you a meticulous and detail-oriented person?

Not everyone pays attention to the details. So, if you are somebody who values precision and thoroughness, then the medical field needs you. Medical lab assistants have to analyze, categorize, and compile their findings to help doctors figure out a diagnosis. As you probably guessed, missing the tiniest detail could have big consequences, as it could directly affect how the patient diagnosis and overall health

3.3.            Do you mind not being the center of attention?

Not everyone likes to be the center of attention, and that is okay. You do not need to interact directly with patients in order to do your job. A laboratory technician job will allow you to play an important role in the healthcare field without being in the spotlight.

3.4.            Do you want to work in the health field as soon as possible?

Most medical field careers are known for their extensive education path. However, unlike other health care providers, Medical lab technicians just need a 2-year degree to start working. There are even some medical lab technician degree programs that take as little as 21 months.

4.      How much is earned in a laboratory technician position?

The average salary for a medical lab technician, in general, varies from $24,000 to $96,000 per year around the world. A laboratory technician in the UAE earns on average AED 132,000 or $35,000 per year. Many factors determine a medical laboratory technician’s pay rate, here we will list some.

4.1.            Education

One of the major factors that determine how much you will earn is your education. Medical lab technicians with masters and PhDs earn considerably more than peers with only a degree. In general, the more education you acquire, the more specialized and complex work you may qualify for, resulting in a higher pay scale. Now that you know, maybe applying to a Ph.D. in microbiology or immunology once you finish your medical laboratory technician degree does not sound like a bad idea.

4.2.            Location

Where you live also determines your rate of pay. If you live in a third-world country your pay rate will be significantly less, so you may be considering seeking opportunities in other countries. Also, if you live in a more expensive part of the country or a major city, your salary will be bigger considering the higher cost of living.

4.3.            Experience

The years of working experience are one of the most important factors that determine your pay rate. The more years of working experience, the higher the position you will occupy, for instance, a medical lab manager makes three times more money than a laboratory assistant. Therefore, if you are considering becoming a med lab technician, the sooner you start working the bigger your paycheck will be in the future.

4.4.            Taxes

This could be included in location, but we think taxes are such an important topic, therefore, we dedicated them a whole section. Although taxes do not affect your gross pay, they do affect your net pay. If you work in a country like Norway, Spain, or the United States of America, you may need to pay around 25% to 40% of your income in taxes. Fortunately, in the UAE, the personal income tax rate stands at 0 percent.

5.      Is the role of a medical laboratory technician stressful?

This is one of the most common questions when it comes to choosing any job or career, but it is also one of the most difficult to answer. The answer is subjective because stress varies from person to person; what stresses some people out might come easily to others.

There will be times when you will be very busy even overwhelmed. Those who do not control fast-paced environments may struggle. What makes it more difficult is that you cannot predict when your day will be crowded or calm.

Furthermore, as we learned in this COVID-19 pandemic, the most hectic times for a medical lab technician are also when they are needed the most.  

6.      What is the employment outlook for a medical laboratory technician?

Most medical field careers are growing rapidly, especially in the UAE, mainly due to the advancements in technology improving the healthcare system and an aging population, including the medical lab tech career. Vacancies for medical laboratory technologists and technicians will grow by 11 percent between now and 2030, much faster than the average occupation.

About 350,000 new vacancies for med lab technicians and technologists open every year on average and will keep opening over the next 10 years. Many of those vacancies will be the result of the need to substitute workers who transfer to different jobs or exit the workforce, such as to retire.

Additionally, The COVID-19 pandemic has also caused a shortage of laboratory personnel in the medical field, and organizations around the world are pushing for new ways to reduce this shortage and cover the high demand for healthcare professionals.

7.      How do you become a medical lab technician?

Now that you learned more about medical lab technicians and you got this far, you are probably curious about what requirements you need to land a job as a medical lab tech. Keep in mind that nowadays there are many types of laboratory technicians. The kind of lab you are looking forward to working in will determine to a certain degree the level of education required.

Generally speaking, to become a medical laboratory technician, you will need a high school diploma as well as a degree in clinical laboratory science or at least a certificate in a med technician program. Furthermore, if you want to improve your advancement and job opportunities, you may consider pursuing a master’s or doctorate.

Once you finish your degree, you have to seek certification and licensure in your country. The requirements for obtaining a medical job always vary from country to country, but most likely you will need to pass a test to get your license.

In addition, it is also important to gain real-world experience through clinical externships to increase your chances of landing a laboratory technician job. You will have many opportunities for this, especially in the last months of your degree, so, you better take advantage of it.

8.      Where can you find a medical lab technician job?

If you are looking for a medical laboratory technician job, here in Connect Health we can help you find a job in the UAE. You can sign up and search for medical-oriented jobs here.

On the contrary, if you are looking for an employee, in Connect Health we can help you find the best talent your business deserves. We have a vast database where you can find the perfect candidate on our web page. Also, if you want to post a job vacancy you can do it.

Would you like to contact Connect Health to obtain more information about healthcare professionals? Feel free to call at +971 433 166 88 or send us an email to info@connecthealth.ae, and you will talk to one of our representatives that will gladly answer all of your questions.

If you are interested in submitting your CV or resume, please enter to thetalentpoint.com. We do not store any information you send to contact@thetalentpoint.com.

Leave a Comment