Medical Laboratory Technician Review

A job as a medical laboratory technician is a good fit for those who prefer a happy medium between working alone and working with others. The starting salary is relatively low, but additional education or specialization can change that.

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The Good

Rapidly growing field

The number of medical lab tech positions is expected to grow by nearly 50,000 jobs, per the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This amounts to a 30% increase in employment, which is significantly greater than the 11% increase expected across all careers. As current lab techs eventually retire and more people have access to health care, more patients will visit the doctor’s office. This leads to more lab tests, which require more lab techs to complete them. If you’re considering a job as a medical lab tech, this is great news since it means you’ll have a good shot of finding an open position once you’ve completed school.

Great advancement potential

Medical lab technicians who work in a large hospital frequently specialize in a particular area once they’ve gained enough experience. Specialization is a smart move because it enables you to become familiar with certain types of tests and complete them faster. Having expertise in a particular area also improves your job prospects. In the competitive job market today, special skills or knowledge will help you stand out against other applicants who don’t possess the same skills. Lab technicians who are willing to go back to school also have the option of becoming a medical laboratory technologist. This position comes with a higher salary and the ability to perform more advanced types of lab tests.

Good mix of independent and team work

As a medical lab tech, your job primarily involves conducting tests in a lab on your own. In addition, technicians may have to interact with patients in order to collect blood or tissue samples, then share the results with the doctors who ordered them. This mix of tasks makes a career as a medical laboratory technician worth considering for individuals who want to work in medicine and enjoy working independently along with some collaboration.

Get started in as little as one year

If you already hold an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in a medical field, you may complete a one-year certificate program in order to become a medical lab tech. These programs are usually offered through hospitals or, occasionally, vocational schools. Certificate programs are relatively uncommon, as most people interested in this field obtain an associate’s degree, but it’s worth looking into if a program is available in your area. Higher education is expensive, so the less time you need to spend in school for your degree or certificate, the more money you’ll save.

The Bad

Average salary

The average medical lab technician’s salary is only slightly above the national average salary of $34,750. However, if a large salary is important to you, that doesn’t mean you should cross this career off your list. There are steps you can take to move up in the field and score yourself a bigger paycheck. Look into specializing in one particular area of medicine or go back to school to become a medical lab technologist instead. Both of these moves will increase your knowledge and skill set, making you more appealing to prospective employers.

Work at all hours

Medical lab technicians may have to work evening, weekend, or even holiday hours to complete all of the requested lab tests. This is going to be the case for the majority of lab techs working in hospitals, as they’re always open in case of emergencies. Those who work in doctor’s offices or other facilities that aren’t open 24/7 may not have to worry about working beyond normal business hours. This is something to think about when considering which vocational job is the right fit. If the idea of working overnight shifts is unappealing to you, you may want to choose a different career path.

The Details


  • Career Growth (2012-2022): 30%
  • Median Pay: $37,240
  • Number of Jobs: 161,500
  • Number of New Jobs (2012-2022): 47,900

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