Degrees in the field of medical laboratory technology can offer great career options, but the field of study may seem intimidating by its title alone. However, the profession can be very enjoyable, and once a student goes through an Associate’s or Bachelor’s program, he or she will be able to handle the responsibilities of the job easily.

As a lab technician, your job will be to collect, study, and perform tests on various samples of bodily fluids, tissues, biological specimens, and other chemical compounds. For these purposes, a lab technician will use a variety of complex laboratory equipment, machinery, and computer software and gather data that will be used by physicians and other medical professionals. On top of that, technicians must ensure that the laboratory equipment is sterile enough so that it does not interfere with the data-gathering efforts.

Educational requirements

The level of education needed will depend on the specialization you choose. For ophthalmic and dental laboratory technicians, you only need a high school diploma, and most of the skills you will need will be learned on the job. For higher tier jobs, such as medical or clinical laboratory technician positions, you will need an Associate’s degree at the minimum, with a Bachelor’s helping you during the hiring process. In some states, you will also need to pass a license or certification exam.

Typical medical lab tech courses

Some of the most common courses you will go through include:

  • Clinical chemistry – This course is part theory and part practice with laboratory work, and in it, you will learn various lab procedures and how to analyze compounds such as enzymes, glucose, and electrolytes. You will also become familiar with various instruments, such as spectrophotometers, and learn theoretical concepts relating to laboratory mathematics, quality control, clinical correlations, and sources of errors during experimentation.
  • Bacteriology – This class will train students to identify pathogenic microorganisms and their associated diseases. The courses will cover topics and practices such as molecular diagnostic testing, the bacteriological families of Neisseriaceae, Micrococcaceae, and Streptococcaceae, and a variety of anaerobic and aerobic spore-formers, non-fermentative gram negative rods, and coccobacilli.
  • Clinical microbiology – During this course, students will learn how to identify microorganisms and their taxonomy. The topics studied will include the theory of the disease process, basic immunology, microbial morphology, genetics, and metabolism. This course includes both a theoretical and practical component in the laboratory, and the subject may veer into areas of parasitology and human pathogenic microorganisms.
  • Clinical hematology – This course is also divided into lectures and laboratory work, and the focus here is on hematologic disorders such as anemia and leukemia. During the laboratory work, students will learn about manual, semi-automated, and automated blood cell counts, along with various staining techniques, and differential morphology, hemoglobin procedures, and coagulation procedures.

Starting your education as a medical laboratory technician

A top lab technician school in Chicago will prepare you to become a leader in the field and start your career on the right foot. At Robert Morris University, we use an experience-based learning system that will train you both inside and outside the classroom, offering the theoretical and practical knowledge needed to succeed as a medical lab technician. Our campus is affiliated with major hospitals in Chicago, where you will be able to meet and practice with experts within the medical industry. If you’d like to find out more, contact us today, and we will be able to answer any questions you may have regarding tuition, enrollment, the various programs we offer, and the course list available to our students.