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Know all about a career as medical lab technician

Career as a medical lab technician offers you the chance to have an important impact on enduring care, without actually interacting with patients.

education Updated: Apr 20, 2018 14:13 IST
A qualified medical lab technician needs to be extremely precise and disciplined in their work.
A qualified medical lab technician needs to be extremely precise and disciplined in their work. (HT file/representative image)

Being a doctor is not the only option to pursue a career in medicine as most people believe. There are numerous options available in the healthcare sector. One of such option is that of medical laboratory technology.

Why medical laboratory technology?

The medical treatment starts only after the diagnosis of the disease and diagnose, doctors need various kinds of analysis through tests. On the basis of the outcome of these tests, they treat and give advice for prevention. This is where the crucial role of medical laboratory technology or clinical laboratory science comes in picture.

The medical laboratory technicians are the ones who collect blood samples and perform the various diagnostic tests by analysing body fluids like blood, saliva and urine, tissues, microorganism screening, chemical analyses, cell counts of human body etc.

Medical laboratory technicians also play an important role in collecting the information needed, sampling, testing, reporting and documentation of these investigations. They determine the presence, extent or absence of disease and provide data needed to evaluate the effectiveness of treatment.

Skills required

A qualified medical lab technician needs to be extremely precise and disciplined in their work. They should be proficient in managing delicate laboratory equipment and responsive materials. According to the College Board, a medical lab technology job requires its practitioners to be logical and precise, with a curiosity in medicine, science and technology. In an increasingly computerised industry, a medical lab technologist should be capable of using computers and digital equipment and comfortable with understanding new technologies.

Career overview

As a medical lab technician, one does regular laboratory testing manually with the help of high-end equipment. Technicians collect samples, organise specimens and operate machines that mechanically analyse samples. They also organise standard solutions which engage measuring and mixing the correct amount of diverse chemicals for use in the lab.

Career prospects

Career as a medical lab technician offers you the chance to have an important impact on enduring care, without actually interacting with patients. One can also work as a freelancer as well as a phlebotomist and earn well.

With the relevant skills, a candidate can find employment in a hospital, minor emergency centres, private laboratory, blood donor centres, health care centre or clinics. You can aspire to become a technologist in due time and work experience.

Medical lab technicians can also find jobs in research facilities, crime laboratories, universities, pharmaceutical companies and military. Lab technicians are constantly in demand in hospitals, speciality hospitals, laboratories etc.

You could grow to become:

* Laboratory manager/consultant/supervisor

* Laboratory information system analyst/consultant

* Hospital outreach coordinator

Medical technicians are also required in an industry such as pharmaceutical for a position in product development, promotion, sales, quality promise, environmental health and insurance, amongst others.

Eligibility

The eligibility needed for a diploma in medical laboratory technology (DMLT) is Class 12 or equivalent examination from a recognised board. The duration of the course is mainly two years. There are also other certificate courses for lab technicians which needs Class 12 as the eligibility.

Courses are offered by various institutes, colleges, universities as well as hospitals. The hospitals or the medical labs are usually affiliated with a college or university. On the job training along with the classroom sessions plays a vital role in providing the practical exposure as well as hands-on experience related to this sector.

For those who want to pursue Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Technology (BMLT), the eligibility is Class 12 or equivalent with science subjects or pre-university vocational course from a recognised board with laboratory technology as a vocational subject. BMLT is a three-year programme.

Remunerations

Medical lab technology is a productive and challenging field. The initial salary package for a medical lab technician ranges from Rs 10,000 to Rs 20,000 per month in hospitals and in clinics. One can also earn well as a freelancer. The pay packages gradually increase with years of experience.

(Khan is the founder and director of Council of Education and Development Programmes Skill Institute, Mumbai. Views expressed here are personal.)