|Number of Jobs:||23,800|
|This Job is Ranked in|
|Best Healthcare Jobs||#17|
|The 100 Best Jobs||#39|
Don't expect to see clinical laboratory technicians playing a leading role on popular hospital TV dramas such as Grey's Anatomy or House anytime soon. Leave the spotlight to trauma doctors and snazzy surgeons because clinical lab technicians are content with working hard behind the schemes. 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 (BLS) projects clinical laboratory technician employment growth of 14.7 percent between 2010 and 2020, adding 23,800 more professionals to the 161,200 jobs currently in this field.
The BLS reports that the median annual wage for clinical laboratory technicians was $36,950 in 2011. The best-paid 10 percent in the profession made approximately $57,330, while the bottom 10 percent made approximately $24,580. Top-paying metropolitan areas for this occupation include San Francisco, Providence, R.I., and San Jose, Calif.
One of the most appealing aspects of this profession is the relatively easy attainability of the education and training requirements. Most clinical laboratory technicians possess an associate's 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 on the job.
There are few lulls in hospital laboratories. Most of the time, clinical laboratory technicians are on the move, performing a test here and analyzing a fluid sample there. Otto says that while the job keeps people busy, it is not overwhelming. She says the pace depends on the time of day (mornings are busiest) and size of the laboratory (smaller operations are typically less demanding). To work in this environment, Otto says a person must have "good attention to detail and follow-through, the ability to think on their feet, plan, organize, and problem solve." Most technicians work 40 hours per week, with some working night shifts and weekends. At larger hospitals, holiday shifts are usually rotated among staff members, so most technicians end up working a few holidays each year.
|Stress Level||Above Average|