Hospital Technician Training Programs and Requirements

Hospital technicians, also called clinical laboratory technicians or medical laboratory technicians, perform diagnostic tests using specialized equipment. Duties include preparing blood samples for analysis, monitoring tests and procedures, matching blood for transfusions and communicating with patients and physicians. Undergraduate certificate and degree programs in the health sciences afford candidates the hands-on training necessary to become hospital technicians.

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Training Requirements and Recommendations

For those seeking employment as a hospital technician, completion of a certificate program is the minimum entry-level qualification needed to obtain a position in the field, although candidates generally hold an associate's degree in the health sciences. Additionally, some employers request prior work experience in clinics or laboratories, which can be fulfilled during educational programs or through entry-level job training. Hospital technicians must have exceptional communication and organizational skills, be able to work well as part of a team and multitask efficiently.

Formal Education

Many certificate and associate's degree programs accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACS) are available at community or technical colleges. Programs for hospital technicians require in-class study as well as hands-on training.

Certificate in Phlebotomy

Aspiring hospital technicians may obtain entry-level training by completing a certificate in phlebotomy, part of the clinical laboratory sciences field. Students complete coursework in blood collection, including venipuncture and microcollection techniques, as well as medical terminology and healthcare ethics. Lab work and a clinical rotation in a hospital are common. Programs are often completed in 1-2 semesters.

Associate of Applied Science in Clinical Laboratory Technology

An associate's degree program in clinical laboratory technology or medical laboratory technology allows students to train on a variety of up-to-date equipment. Associate's degree programs take two years to complete and require students to spend time in on-campus laboratories and hospitals. Degree candidates study chemistry, anatomy and physiology. Other courses cover hematology, urinalysis, microbiology and immunology.

Job Experience

Many employers expect that entry-level hospital technicians possess one or more years of clinical laboratory experience. Graduates of an associate's degree program may already have completed this requirement through built-in college internships. Applicants are also expected to have CPR certification and be able to use computer office applications, including data entry programs.

Licenses and Certifications

Certain states require that hospital technicians be licensed prior to being employed; educational and exam requirements vary by state. Although not required, many employers prefer that applicants be certified by a professional organization. Organizations such as the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP), American Association of Bioanalysts and American Medical Technologists offer certification examinations to laboratory professionals including phlebotomy technicians and medical laboratory technicians. Certification eligibility requirements vary depending on the organization.

Workshops and Seminars

Hospitals and other healthcare facilities offer workshops or seminars for technicians on managing changes in technology, among other topics. Conferences can last several days, covering a wide range of health-related topics and allowing professionals opportunities to network with others. Webinars, in which professionals can learn about updates in the industry, are also becoming a popular option.

Additional Professional Development

With additional experience and education, clinical laboratory technicians can become clinical laboratory technologists. Students must complete a bachelor's degree program in clinical laboratory science, medical technology or related health sciences field. Technologists perform diagnostic tests on patients just as technicians do, but they also complete more complex tasks, such as analyzing chemical components in blood and cross-matching blood samples for transfusions. Also, some hospital technologists can supervise hospital technicians.

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