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Clinical Laboratory Technician

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Overall Score
(7.1 out of 10)

Number of Jobs


Median Salary


Unemployment Rate

3.1 percent

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This Job is Ranked in
Best Health Care Jobs #14
The 100 Best Jobs #22

Don’t expect to see clinical laboratory technicians playing a leading role on “Grey’s Anatomy” anytime soon. Leave the spotlight to trauma doctors and snazzy surgeons because clinical lab technicians are content with working hard behind the scenes. Serving as an important cog in the elaborate framework that is the modern hospital or clinic, they conduct the crucial tests and analyses that physicians use to make their diagnoses. Clinical laboratory technicians are responsible for a number of tasks, including examining body fluids and cells and matching blood for transfusions. The job requires the use of sophisticated laboratory equipment, such as microscopes and cell counters. With continued advancements in technology, lab work has become more analytical, so laboratory personnel should have excellent judgment skills. More complex procedures are reserved for clinical laboratory technologists, who must possess a bachelor’s degree. Technicians, who must hold at least an associate’s degree, often work under the supervision of technologists.

With steady population growth and the development of new lab tests, the job market for clinical laboratory technicians is expected to remain strong. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects clinical laboratory technician employment growth of 29.7 percent between 2012 and 2022, adding 47,900 more professionals to the 325,800 jobs currently in this field.


The BLS reports that the median annual salary for clinical laboratory technicians was $37,240 in 2012. The best-paid 10 percent in the profession made approximately $57,710, while the bottom 10 percent made approximately $24,790. Top-paying metropolitan areas for this occupation include Providence, R.I., Bridgeport, Conn., and San Francisco.

Salary Range

75th Percentile $46,880
Median $37,240
25th Percentile $29,750


One of the most appealing aspects of this profession is the education and training requirements are relatively easy to obtain. Most clinical laboratory technicians possess an associate degree from a community college or junior college program accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences. Others simply receive a certificate from a hospital or a vocational school. Additionally, a small percentage of technicians learn their skills through on-the-job training.

Reviews & Advice

Making connections during education and training programs is one of the most effective ways to land a clinical laboratory technician job. Cathy Otto, former president of the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science, says becoming a member of a professional organization offers excellent networking opportunities that will increase your chances of getting hired. For clinical laboratory technologists, Otto recommends taking writing and speech courses in addition to the standard curriculum offered in the programs. Technologists with superior communication skills will have more opportunities to transition into supervisory roles throughout the course of their careers.

Job Satisfaction

Upward Mobility fair Average
Stress Level poor Above Average
Flexibility fair Average
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Last updated by Harriet Edleson.

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