Medical laboratory technicians (MLTs) often work
under the supervision of medical technologists to perform routine
clinical laboratory tests on blood, tissue, and body fluids to help
in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases.
Technicians' duties include collecting blood samples,
preparing chemical solutions, preparing and analyzing specimens,
keeping records of laboratory tests, running and maintaining quality
control, troubleshooting instrumentation, and reporting results
to head nurses or physicians. Medical laboratory technicians must
be self-motivated, accurate, dedicated, and pay great attention
Areas of Specialization
Like medical technologists, technicians use laboratory instruments
ranging from microscopes and computers to automated analyzers in
the areas of chemistry, hematology, urinalysis, immunohematology/blood
banking, immunology, and microbiology.
Medical laboratory technicians work in hospitals, physicians’
office laboratories, reference laboratories and educational facilities.
The number of Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technologists employed in Florida in 2006 was 8,559. It is projected that in 2014 there will be 10,170, an annual average growth rate of 2.4 percent. The 2004 Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 13,000 new laboratory
professionals will be needed in the United States each year; however,
current training programs only graduate 5,000 students each year.
Length of Training/Requirements
The period of training in order to sit for the licensure exam is
two years in a community college resulting in an associate degree.
One year of training in a vocational education institution will
result in a certificate or Applied Technology diploma which is transferrable
to Florida community colleges toward an associate degree. Studies
begin with classroom instruction followed by practical laboratory
application in urinalysis, hematology, immunology/serology/immunohematology/blood
banking, microbiology, and clinical chemistry.
Medical laboratory technicians can advance to medical technologists
with additional education and experience and by passing the licensing
exam at the technological level.
Graduates completing medical laboratory technician training programs
must pass a national certification examination and obtain a Florida
Clinical Laboratory Personnel license before seeking employment
in Florida. Graduates of National Accrediting Agency for Clinical
Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS)-accredited associate degree programs
who pass the technician licensure exam are eligible to sit for the
technologist level exam without further training or experience.
Maintaining national certification is voluntary and may be obtained
from the American Society for Clinical Pathology or the American
Medical Technologists. Continuing education hours are required every
two years for license renewal.
The average hourly wage for medical laboratory technicians was $17.75 in 2009.