Medical Lab Technician Associate Degree Program
Medical laboratory technicians (commonly known as medical laboratory scientists) are the “detectives” of the clinical medical field. They collect samples of fluids, tissue and other substances, perform tests and analyze results in order to help physicians diagnose and treat disease and other medical conditions. These healthcare professionals are vital members of a healthcare team, playing a vital role in saving lives and improving health, but they typically work independently with limited patient interaction.
If you enjoy working with high-tech equipment, are interested in the medical field, and are a good problem solver, medical laboratory technician may be a good career path.
Program length – 18 months
Curriculum for this program includes clinical chemistry, hematology, phlebotomy, immunology, parasitology, and microbiology. The program also includes an externship in a healthcare setting prior to graduation, providing real-world work experience. This program also includes general education courses to meet the requirements of an associate degree program including, math, psychology, government, ethics, critical thinking, success strategies, and written and oral communications.
Medical lab technicians perform routine medical laboratory tests for the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease. They collect samples and perform tests on blood, urine, tissue and other substances to check for abnormalities and analyze composition. Whilte they are part of a healthcare team, they often work independently with limited patient interaction
Duties typically include the following:
- Analyze body fluids, such as blood, urine, and tissue samples, and record normal or abnormal findings
- Study blood samples for use in transfusions by identifying the number of cells, the cell morphology or the blood group, blood type, and compatibility with other blood types
- Operate sophisticated laboratory equipment, such as microscopes and cell counters
- Use automated equipment and computerized instruments capable of performing a number of tests at the same time
- Log data from medical tests and enter results into a patient’s medical record
- Discuss results and findings of laboratory tests and procedures with physicians
- Supervise or train medical laboratory technicians
The majority of medical lab techs work in hospitals, while others work in medical and diagnostic laboratories or physician offices. A small number work in university settings. Technicians can choose to specialize in a particular area of testing or with a specific clinical instrument as their career progress.
Demand for medical and clinical laboratory technicians is expected to grow by 14% or more through 2024 with 68,100 new job openings.1
1U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-2017 Edition, Job Outlook, retrieved 4/26/16
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