Becoming a Laboratory Technician probably wasn’t on your list of ideal careers when you were a kid, but perhaps it should have been. Laboratory Technologists perform tests on body fluids and tissue samples that are crucial to detecting, diagnosing, and treating disease. If you like staring through microscopes at bacteria, parasites and microorganisms, or even if you just like helping people with your analytical expertise, this is a great career. It’s not for the faint of heart however, since a tremendous amount of responsibility is placed on the lab technicians to be accurate in their tests. People’s lives are in their hands just like any doctor or registered nurse.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for laboratory technologists in 2008 was $53,500, with the lowest 10% earning under $36,000 and the highest paid techs earning over $74,680. Lab techs can find employment in many locations like at university medical clinics, physician’s offices, or general hospitals. As with all medical careers, the outlook is good for job hires since the number of older people and the demand for laboratory testing are increasing. To advance up the career ladder requires experience and the ability to take on supervisory positions. Many online colleges offer degree programs that incorporate management skills, which would be a plus on any resume. Online colleges also offer degree programs for nurse practitioners and ultrasound technicians, for those who are interested in medical care outside the laboratory.
Laboratory technicians often have AA degrees in fields such as allied health, medical assisting, or health information technology, or certificates from hospitals or vocational schools, even the military. Any of those avenues offer a great start to a career in laboratory technology. The National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences accredits 479 programs nation-wide, which means further training and specialization through online colleges or regular universities is easy to find.