The term “medical laboratory technician” (MLT) can be very broad, since the number of duties and responsibilities that will fall on your shoulders once you start your career can be quite varied. Medical laboratory technicians use their skills to detect pathological abnormalities that could lead to physiological anomalies in a patient. In fact, laboratory data is involved in over 80% of all the medical differential diagnoses.
What Does a Career as an MLT Look Like?
An MLT will generally work under the supervision of a medical laboratory scientist, physician, or laboratory director in order to conduct various tests on bodily fluids, blood, and tissue samples. These tests are used to provide accurate diagnoses and treatments for diseases. In terms of professional settings, MLTs will be able to find employment in acute care hospitals (with nearly half of all MLTs employed in this setting), physician’s offices, and free-standing diagnostic laboratories. They may also work in non-traditional settings such as academia, bioengineering, laboratory bioinformatics, veterinary medicine, forensic medicine, pharmaceutical laboratories, public health facilities, and other areas of medical research.
The Duties of an MLT
Your duties as an MLT will encompass sanitizing and setting up laboratories, preparing the various specimens that will be tested, ensuring that the blood used in a transfusion matches in terms of compatibility, identifying and isolating pathogens, analyzing fluid samples and body tissue, and more. During these tasks, you will use state-of-the-art equipment that includes automated analyzers, cell counters, and microscopes. As you progress in your career, you will have the option to specialize in other areas of the field, such as molecular diagnostics, immunology, blood banking, chemistry, hematology, or microbiology.
In the hospital setting, work schedules will usually be tied to the standard three shifts. The career can be very rewarding for the student with an inquisitive mind, as you will use scientific equipment to solve daily “mysteries” through testing. You will have limited contact with patients, and your focus will mainly be on mathematical operations and scientific experimentation.
The Benefits of Attending a Medical Lab Technician School and Becoming an MLT
Now that we’ve covered the job description and the duties of a medical laboratory technician, what are the benefits? To start, medical lab technicians have the opportunity to move up in their careers. As mentioned, there are numerous opportunities for specialization, and with this specialization comes better paid positions. On top of that, you will have the option to become a medical laboratory technologist, which comes with a higher pay grade and the opportunity to perform more advanced tests and operations within the laboratory.
You will also have plenty of employment opportunities. Both technician and technologist positions are expected to grow by 11% by the year 2028, which is a rate that is much faster than the national average, with an expected 35,100 jobs being added during this period, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Attending a Medical Laboratory Technician School
If the description above sounds like something you would be interested in, then you should consider enrolling in a medical laboratory technician school. At Robert Morris University, we have a series of programs, along with a strong foundational course list, that will provide you with the skills and practical experience needed to start your career immediately upon graduation. As one of the largest, private, non-for-profit colleges in Illinois, we prepare students to go on and excel in their careers. If you have any questions or would like to know more about our university and majors, contact us today and we will gladly help you out.