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What Is a Clinical Laboratory Technician and How to Become One

What Do Clinical Laboratory Technicians Do?

Clinical laboratory technicians collect specimens for testing, including blood, urine, and body tissue. These techs run tests on these samples, analyze them, then summarize and report their findings. This report helps physicians and nurses diagnose and treat patients. Accurate results are vital to determine appropriate treatment, so clinical laboratory technicians must be diligent when using testing equipment, such as analyzers, Petri dishes, cell counters, and syringes. Laboratory technologists may sometimes be called in to work with the clinical laboratory technician to perform more complex tests on the samples. Clinical laboratory technicians work in hospitals, medical laboratories, blood banks, and other medical facilities.

How to Become a Clinical Laboratory Technician

To become a clinical laboratory technician, earn an associate degree in the sciences or a related field, or complete a certificate program at a vocational school. These programs provide courses in chemistry, biology, hematology, and phlebotomy to prepare you for your duties as a clinical laboratory technician. Once you complete your educational program, become certified by the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) to show proficiency in the field. Acquire an entry-level position at a hospital or testing lab to gain knowledge of medical terms and how to identify issues in samples. Work for several years, then apply for clinical laboratory technician positions.