Clinical Technician: Job Description & Career Requirements

Find out the job duties of clinical laboratory technicians. Learn about the education and training requirements for this career, as well as the salary potential and job outlook.

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Career Definition

Clinical laboratory technicians most frequently work in private and government labs, hospitals, and clinics. They play a crucial role in the process of detecting, identifying, diagnosing, and treating illnesses and diseases. Typical duties of a clinical laboratory technician include cleaning laboratory equipment, testing blood with chemicals, performing urinalysis, and monitoring treatment. Technicians must work under the supervision of clinical laboratory technologists.

How to Become a Clinical Laboratory Technician

Required Education

Clinical laboratory technicians must have at least an associate's degree or a certificate. Prerequisites may include biology, chemistry, and anatomy and physiology. Typical coursework includes biochemistry, mathematics, microbiology, phlebotomy, and hematology. Additionally, hands-on clinical lab rotations are mandatory.

Skill Requirements

Clinical laboratory technicians work as part of a team in the lab; they should have strong communication and interpersonal skills to facilitate their work. Good attention to detail and an ability to multitask will also serve clinical lab technicians well in their work.

Employment and Economic Outlook

According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the economic outlook for clinical laboratory technicians is average when compared to all occupations; the BLS expects employment in this field will grow 14% from 2012 to 2022. The BLS reported in May 2012 that the median annual salary for clinical laboratory technicians was $37,240.

Alternative Career Options

Chemical Laboratory Technician

Those who like to use chemicals may like to work as chemical laboratory technicians. Chemical laboratory technicians work alongside chemical engineers and chemists in labs and conduct tests, experiments, and research using chemicals and chemical processes. Required education for these workers includes an associate's degree and some laboratory experience. As of May 2012, the median annual salary for chemical technicians was $42,920. The BLS projects that the number of jobs for chemical technicians will increase by 9% from 2012 to 2022.

Veterinary Technician

While clinical technicians work in a lab, veterinary technicians work in veterinary medical centers and animal hospitals. These workers help vets by caring for animals during and after surgery, taking blood and urine samples for testing, helping pet owners understand their pet's condition and administering medication to animals. An associate's degree in veterinary technology is required for vet techs. Professional certifications in veterinary technology are available, and some states require vet techs to obtain a license. The BLS reported the median salary for veterinary technicians and technologists as $30,290 in May 2012. This is a fast-growing field, according to the BLS. Jobs for veterinary technicians and technologists are projected to increase by 30% from 2012 to 2022.

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