How to Be Medical Laboratory Technician - Job Description, Skills, and Interview Questions

The role of a Medical Laboratory Technician is a highly important one in the healthcare industry, as they are responsible for performing a variety of tests to analyze body fluids and tissue samples. This helps medical professionals to diagnose and treat diseases in patients. As a result, their work is critical in ensuring that patients receive proper medical care.

Without the work of Medical Laboratory Technicians, doctors would be unable to accurately diagnose patients and provide the best possible treatment. This could potentially lead to more serious illnesses, prolonged hospital stays, and even death in some cases. Therefore, it is essential that Medical Laboratory Technicians are highly trained and knowledgeable in order to provide accurate results, and maintain the highest level of patient safety.

Steps How to Become

  1. Earn a High School Diploma or GED. To become a medical laboratory technician, you must have at least a high school diploma or GED.
  2. Complete an Associate Degree in Medical Laboratory Technology. Most medical laboratory technicians complete an Associate of Applied Science degree in Medical Laboratory Technology.
  3. Pass the Certification Exam. To gain certification, most medical laboratory technicians must pass the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) exam.
  4. Get Licensed. In some states, medical laboratory technicians must be licensed by the state health department in order to practice.
  5. Participate in Continuing Education. Medical laboratory technicians must complete continuing education in order to maintain their certification and license.

Being a reliable and qualified Medical Laboratory Technician requires dedication, experience, and education. To become a successful technician, one must dedicate themselves to their studies and understand the importance of accuracy and precision. Experience is key when it comes to working in the field.

Having hands-on experience helps technicians gain knowledge of laboratory procedures and become more comfortable in their role. Lastly, a Medical Laboratory Technician must obtain a proper education. This can be done through an associate’s degree program or a certification program.

Once educated, the technician must pass a comprehensive examination to become certified. With dedication, experience, and a proper education, Medical Laboratory Technicians can become reliable and qualified professionals.

You may want to check Laboratory Manager, Clinical Laboratory Scientist, and Laboratory Technician II for alternative.

Job Description

  1. Collect and prepare blood, tissue, and other body fluid samples for testing
  2. Perform routine laboratory tests and procedures such as blood counts, urinalysis, and cultures
  3. Identify and report unexpected findings to the appropriate personnel
  4. Analyze test results, review them with physicians, and enter them into the patient’s medical record
  5. Monitor laboratory supplies and recommend restocking when needed
  6. Maintain laboratory equipment and perform quality control tests
  7. Properly dispose of infectious or hazardous materials
  8. Train new employees on proper laboratory procedures
  9. Provide technical assistance to clinical staff
  10. Follow safety protocols to ensure a safe working environment

Skills and Competencies to Have

  1. Knowledge of laboratory techniques and procedures
  2. Ability to work independently and as part of a team
  3. Excellent organizational and communication skills
  4. Ability to identify and troubleshoot problems
  5. Working knowledge of laboratory safety protocols
  6. Ability to work with complex laboratory instruments
  7. Knowledge of laboratory testing regulations
  8. Knowledge of proper data collection and recording procedures
  9. Ability to interpret lab results and provide reports
  10. Proficiency in computer programs related to laboratory operations

One of the most important skills for a Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT) to have is attention to detail. MLTs are responsible for performing laboratory tests and analyzing specimens to diagnose, treat, and prevent disease. These tests require accuracy and precision, as the results could mean the difference between life and death for a patient.

To ensure that accurate results are obtained, MLTs must understand the test methods and be able to pay attention to small details when processing the specimens. They must be able to identify abnormalities in specimens and take corrective action if necessary. MLTs must be able to properly document their results and maintain accurate records.

Inaccurate or incomplete records could lead to incorrect diagnoses and improper treatments. Therefore, it is essential for MLTs to have excellent attention to detail in order to produce accurate results that can be relied upon by healthcare professionals.

Laboratory Scientist, Research Laboratory Technician, and Laboratory Analyst are related jobs you may like.

Frequent Interview Questions

  • What experience do you have in this field?
  • What led you to pursue a career in medical laboratory technology?
  • Do you have experience with laboratory instrumentation and technology?
  • How do you handle difficult and challenging situations in the lab?
  • What safety procedures do you follow in the lab?
  • Describe a time when you had to troubleshoot a technical problem in the lab.
  • What methods are you familiar with for accurately recording lab results?
  • How do you stay up-to-date on new technologies and advancements in the field?
  • Describe your experience working in a team environment in a lab setting.
  • How do you manage multiple tasks and prioritize them effectively?

Common Tools in Industry

  1. Microscope. Used to view and analyze microscopic specimens (eg: blood cells).
  2. Spectrophotometer. Used to measure the concentration of various components in a sample by analyzing the amount of light absorbed (eg: glucose levels in blood).
  3. Centrifuge. Used to separate blood components by spinning at high speeds (eg: red blood cells from plasma).
  4. Autoclave. Used to sterilize equipment and samples (eg: lab glassware).
  5. Pipettes. Used to measure out precise amounts of liquid samples (eg: urine).
  6. Refractometer. Used to measure the refractive index of a sample, which is used to determine its concentration (eg: sodium levels in blood).
  7. Analytical Balances. Used to accurately weigh and measure samples (eg: chemicals).
  8. Cell Counter. Used to count the number of cells in a sample (eg: white blood cells in a blood sample).

Professional Organizations to Know

  1. American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science (ASCLS)
  2. American Society of Cytopathology (ASC)
  3. Clinical Laboratory Management Association (CLMA)
  4. American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC)
  5. National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS)
  6. American Medical Technologists (AMT)
  7. National Society for Histotechnology (NSH)
  8. International Society for Laboratory Hematology (ISLH)
  9. American Society for Microbiology (ASM)
  10. American Association of Bioanalysts (AAB)

We also have Laboratory Support Technician, Forensic Laboratory Technician, and Quality Assurance Laboratory Technician jobs reports.

Common Important Terms

  1. Hematology. The study of blood and blood-forming organs.
  2. Microbiology. The study of microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa.
  3. Cytology. The study of cells and their structure and function.
  4. Immunology. The study of the body's immune system and its response to foreign substances.
  5. Clinical Chemistry. The study of the chemical components and reactions in biological samples.
  6. Clinical Pathology. The study of disease states and their associated laboratory findings.
  7. Molecular Diagnostics. The use of techniques to detect the presence or absence of genetic material associated with a particular disease state.
  8. Urinalysis. The examination of urine to evaluate health or detect the presence of a disease.
  9. Phlebotomy. The practice of drawing blood for laboratory testing.
  10. Histopathology. The microscopic examination of tissue samples to observe changes caused by disease.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Medical Laboratory Technician?

A Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT) is a healthcare professional who performs tests on biological specimens to diagnose, monitor, and treat diseases.

What qualifications are required to become an MLT?

To become an MLT, you typically need an associate's degree in medical laboratory technology or a related field. You may also need to pass a certification exam, such as the Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT) Certification Exam administered by the American Medical Technologists (AMT).

What duties does an MLT typically perform?

An MLT typically performs a variety of laboratory tests to aid in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease. This may include performing routine tests such as blood counts and urinalysis, as well as more specialized tests such as enzyme assays and DNA analysis.

What is the average salary of an MLT?

The median annual wage for medical and clinical laboratory technologists and technicians was $52,330 in May 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What is the job outlook for MLTs?

Employment of medical and clinical laboratory technologists and technicians is projected to grow 7% from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations.

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