Careers

A Career as a Clinical Laboratory Technician (CLT)

What clinical laboratory technicians do

Photo of Kim CampoBasso, a May 2009 graduate from MWCC's Clinical Laboratory Science program.The challenges and rewards of medicine and science — the clinical laboratory technician has the best of both worlds.

The clinical laboratory technician performs general tests in all laboratory areas — Blood banking, Chemistry, Hematology, Immunology and Microbiology. Working with the supervision of a medical technologist, a medical laboratory technician hunts for clues to the absence, presence, extent, and causes of diseases.

Clinical laboratory technicians must be accurate, dedicated and skilled. They must also be self-motivated, and take the initiative to do what must be done everyday — to pitch in to help the healthcare team.

Job ratings

According to CareerCast.com  The Best and Worst Jobs , clinical laboratory technicians are in the top 20 list of best jobs. Clinical laboratory technicians ranked 17 in a list of 200 jobs in 2014.  The positions were scored on factors such as stress levels, work environment and job outlook.

Job opportunities

The future long-term employment for clinical laboratory technicians looks bright. Employment opportunities are expected to increase through the year 2022 at a much faster rate than average. Clinical laboratory technicians work in a variety of practice settings. Hospitals, for-profit laboratories, clinics, public health facilities, biotechnology or industrial laboratories currently have positions open for certified clinical laboratory technicians.

Students in the labWhat it takes to be a clinical laboratory technician

All clinical laboratory technicians have certain common characteristics. They are problem solvers. They like challenge and responsibility. They are accurate, reliable, work well under pressure and are able to finish a task once started. They communicate well, both in writing and speaking. They set high standards for themselves and expect quality in the work they do. But, above all, they are deeply committed to their profession, and are truly fascinated by all that science has to offer. For someone who chooses a career as a clinical laboratory technician, the exploration and learning never ends.

Career preparation

To prepare for a career as a clinical laboratory technician, you should have a solid foundation in sciences — biology, chemistry, math and computer science. You’ll need a combination of formal education plus clinical education in a clinical laboratory technician (CLT) program accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS).

With a career as a clinical laboratory technician, you’ll have unlimited choices. Unlike many other careers, your education in clinical laboratory technology will prepare you directly for a job. While you’re going to school, you can work part-time in a laboratory to earn extra money. And you could start working full-time the day after you graduate.

Certification

To be sure that laboratory workers are competent and able to perform high quality laboratory tests, the Board of Registry of the American Society for Clinical Pathology gives a national certification exam. Students take this exam after meeting their academic and laboratory education requirements. Opportunities for Advancement A clinical laboratory technician who earns a baccalaureate degree and has two years of work experience can become a clinical laboratory technologist. The clinical technologist can be teachers, supervisors, researchers or health care administrators working in new areas of scientific exploration.

This web page is one in a series describing laboratory careers. For information on Educational requirements/certification requirements:

Contact the ASCP Board of Registry,
P.O. Box 12277, Chicago, IL 60612-0277
Phone: (800) 621-4142, ext.1345
In Illinois, (312) 738-4890, ext. 1345
Fax: (312) 738-5808
On-line: http://www.ascp.org/Functional-Nav/Laboratory-Science-Students

To find out more about this new allied health program* at Mount Wachusett Community College, contact:

Cheryl Wilson, Ph.D. , CLS Dept. Chairperson
MWCC
room 271, 978-630-9433
cwilson14@mwcc.mass.edu