The first specialty is excerpted along with a sampling of resources from the
all new 4th edition of
Health Care Job Explosion!. The remaining occupations are featured in the
same format as presented for clinical lab technicians in the text version of
Health Care Job Explosion! Occupational groups are divided into primary and
related occupations so that individuals can investigate other fields for
additional job opportunities.
Health Care Job Explosion features over 1,400 career exploration and job
vacancy resources. Resources are grouped with each occupation and a sample of
related resources are included with the first two occupations.
Debra Burton, R.T. (R)(M)(CT) always knew she wanted to work in the medical
field. After high school, while working at a local hospital in housekeeping, she
took an emergency medical technician course. Soon after that, she was hired as a
radiology aid. Her supervisors recognized her potential and encouraged her to go
to school in radiologic technology.
While attending school full-time, she was able to work week-ends in radiology
departments in small hospitals. She graduated from Fort Hays University in
Kansas in 1987 with an Associate’s degree. After passing the boards, she became
a registered radiological technologist.
Debra explained that one can get certified in several different specialties
in diagnostic imaging. "There are always opportunities and such a variety of
imaging modalities to learn." You can also get raises when you earn a new
certification. Currently certified in computerized tomography (CT scans) and
mammography, Debra is working towards an additional certification in abdominal
"There are always opportunities in the field," Debra says. She has worked in
several hospitals, sometimes as a supervisor. If you would like to work in a
certain specialty, she encourages you to go for it. "If there was a certain area
of the state I wanted to live in, I would put my application in, and within six
months I would usually get a job offer." Debra adds, "It is a job that every
hospital needs, so you can go any-where: hospitals, clinics—even x-ray mummies
at a university."
Working with different types of technologically sophisticated equipment is a
favorite aspect of her career. "There is a lot to do with computers and digital
technology. More and more of imaging is going into PACS (Picture Archival
Computer Systems)" so images will be put onto DVDs instead of film.
Having worked in both large city hospitals and smaller rural hospitals, Debra
prefers the smaller ones. Currently she works at the Ells-worth County Medical
Center in a town of 2300 in central Kansas. "I have found one of the best things
about working in small hospitals is that I have become part of a family in the
workplace." Debra feels that she wouldn’t enjoy working without that family
atmosphere. She also likes rural hospitals because they don’t feel as hectic as
urban facilities. "You have more control over what you do." The disadvantage in
small hospitals is that you are on call more often. "You can get called at 2 AM.
When you have kids, you have to have a support system so you can go in to work
Debra really enjoys being a part of the healthcare team. "Radiologic
technologists use their skills to greatly assist physicians in diagnosing their
patients. A single radiograph can change the course of the way the physician is
treating the patient." Much of diagnostic imaging is operator-dependent. In
sonography, it is the technologist’s responsibility to point out which
abnormalities the physician needs to examine.
Debra gets a lot of meaning and satisfaction from working closely with the
physicians to assist in diagnosis. She points out, "Most of our job is routine,
but in a split second it can turn into a fast-paced emergency situation."
Working in diagnostic imaging is "almost like an artist at times the way you
can demonstrate a human body. You learn skills to obtain radiographs without
disturbing a broken leg and causing undue pain to a patient." Debra is very
enthusiastic about her career. "It is one-on-one work with the patients. You
never know what each new day will bring interesting cases, interesting people,
and new experiences."
Note: A complete description of this career choice with resources is
available in chapter four of the new 4th edition of
Health Care Job Explosion.
Faster than average employment growth is expected as the volume of
laboratory tests continues to increase with both population growth and the
development of new types of tests.
Clinical laboratory technologists usually have a bachelor’s degree with
a major in medical technology or in one of the life sciences; clinical
laboratory technicians generally need either an associate degree or a
Clinical laboratory testing plays a crucial role in the detection, diagnosis,
and treatment of disease. Clinical laboratory technologists, also referred to as
clinical laboratory scientists or medical technologists, and clinical laboratory
technicians, also known as medical technicians or medical laboratory
technicians, perform most of these tests.
Clinical laboratory personnel examine and analyze body fluids and cells. They
look for bacteria, parasites, and other microorganisms; analyze the chemical
content of fluids; match blood for transfusions; and test for drug levels in the
blood to show how a patient is responding to treatment. Technologists also
prepare specimens for examination, count cells, and look for abnormal cells in
blood and body fluids. They use automated equipment and computerized instruments
capable of per-forming a number of tests simultaneously, as well as microscopes,
cell counters, and other sophisticated laboratory equipment. Then they analyze
the results and relay them to physicians. With increasing automation and the use
of computer technology, the work of technologists and technicians has become
less hands-on and more analytical.
The complexity of tests performed, the level of judgment needed, and the amount
of responsibility workers assume depend largely on the amount of education and
experience they have.
Clinical laboratory technologists perform complex chemical, bio-logical,
hematological, immunologic, microscopic, and bacteriological tests.
Technologists microscopically examine blood and other body flu-ids. They make
cultures of body fluid and tissue samples, to determine the presence of
bacteria, fungi, parasites, or other microorganisms. Clinical laboratory
technologists analyze samples for chemical content or a chemical reaction and
determine concentrations of compounds such as blood glucose and cholesterol
levels. They also type and cross match blood samples for transfusions.
Clinical laboratory technologists evaluate test results, develop and modify
procedures, and establish and monitor programs, to ensure the accuracy of tests.
Some technologists supervise clinical laboratory technicians.
Technologists in small laboratories perform many types of tests, whereas those
in large laboratories generally specialize. Technologists who prepare specimens
and analyze the chemical and hormonal con-tents of body fluids are called
clinical chemistry technologists. Those who examine and identify bacteria and
other microorganisms are microbiology technologists. Blood bank technologists,
or immunohe-matology technologists, collect, type, and prepare blood and its
components for transfusions. Immunology technologists examine elements of the
human immune system and its response to foreign bodies. Cytotechnologists
prepare slides of body cells and examine these cells microscopically for
abnormalities that may signal the beginning of a cancerous growth. Molecular
biology technologists perform complex protein and nucleic acid testing on cell
Clinical laboratory technicians perform less complex tests and laboratory
procedures than technologists perform. Technicians may prepare specimens and
operate automated analyzers, for example, or they may perform manual tests in
accordance with detailed instructions. Like technologists, they may work in
several areas of the clinical laboratory or specialize in just one.
Histotechnicians cut and stain tissue specimens for microscopic examination by
pathologists, and phlebotomists collect blood samples. They usually work under
the supervision of medical and clinical laboratory technologists or laboratory
Hours and other working conditions of clinical laboratory technologists and
technicians vary with the size and type of employment setting. In large
hospitals or in independent laboratories that operate continuously, personnel
usually work the day, evening, or night shift and may work weekends and
holidays. Laboratory personnel in small facilities may work on rotating shifts,
rather than on a regular shift. In some facilities, laboratory personnel are on
call several nights a week or on weekends, in case of an emergency.
Clinical laboratory personnel are trained to work with infectious specimens.
When proper methods of infection control and sterilization are followed, few
hazards exist. Protective masks, gloves, and goggles are often necessary to
ensure the safety of laboratory personnel.
Laboratories usually are well lighted and clean; however, specimens, solutions,
and reagents used in the laboratory sometimes produce fumes. Laboratory workers
may spend a great deal of time on their feet.
Clinical laboratory technologists and technicians held about 302,000 jobs in
2004. More than half of these jobs were in hospitals. Most of the remaining jobs
were in offices of physicians and in medical and diagnostic laboratories. A
small proportion were in educational services and in all other ambulatory health
The usual requirement for an entry-level position as a clinical laboratory
technologist is a bachelor’s degree with a major in medical technology or in one
of the life sciences; although it is possible to qualify through a combination
of education, on-the-job, and specialized training. Universities and hospitals
offer medical technology programs.
Bachelor’s degree programs in medical technology include courses in chemistry,
biological sciences, microbiology, mathematics, and statistics, as well as
specialized courses devoted to knowledge and skills used in the clinical
laboratory. Many programs also offer or require courses in management, business,
and computer applications. The Clinical Laboratory Improvement Act requires
technologists who perform highly complex tests to have at least an associate
Medical and clinical laboratory technicians generally have either an associate
degree from a community or junior college or a certificate from a hospital, a
vocational or technical school, or one of the U.S. Armed Forces. A few
technicians learn their skills on the job.
The National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS) fully
accredits 469 programs for medical and clinical laboratory technologists,
medical and clinical laboratory technicians, histotechnologists and
histotechnicians, cytogenetic technologists, and diagnostic molecular
scientists. NAACLS also approves 57 programs in phlebotomy and clinical
assisting. Other nationally recognized accrediting agencies that accredit
specific areas for clinical laboratory workers include the Commission on
Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs and the Accrediting Bureau of
Health Education Schools.
Some states require laboratory personnel to be licensed or registered.
Information on licensure is available from state departments of health or boards
of occupational licensing. Certification is a voluntary process by which a
nongovernmental organization, such as a professional society or certifying
agency, grants recognition to an individual whose professional competence meets
prescribed standards. Widely accepted by employers in the health care industry,
certification is a prerequisite for most jobs and often is necessary for
advancement. Agencies certifying medical and clinical laboratory technologists
and technicians include the Board of Registry of the American Society for
Clinical Pathology, the American Medical Technologists, the National
Credentialing Agency for Laboratory Personnel, and the Board of Registry of the
American Association of Bioanalysts. These agencies have different requirements
for certification and different organizational sponsors.
Clinical laboratory personnel need good analytical judgment and the ability
to work under pressure. Close attention to detail is essential, because small
differences or changes in test substances or numerical readouts can be crucial
for patient care. Manual dexterity and normal color vision are highly desirable.
With the widespread use of automated laboratory equipment, computer skills are
important. In addition, technologists in particular are expected to be good at
Technologists may advance to supervisory positions in laboratory work or may
become chief medical or clinical laboratory technologists or laboratory managers
in hospitals. Manufacturers of home diagnostic testing kits and laboratory
equipment and supplies seek experienced technologists to work in product
development, marketing, and sales. A graduate degree in medical technology, one
of the biological sciences, chemistry, management, or education usually speeds
advancement. A doctorate is needed to become a laboratory director; however,
federal regulation allows directors of moderately complex laboratories to have
either a master’s degree or a bachelor’s degree, combined with the appropriate
amount of training and experience. Technicians can become technologists through
additional education and experience.
Employment of clinical laboratory workers is expected to grow faster than
average for all occupations through the year 2014, as the volume of laboratory
tests continues to increase with both population growth and the development of
new types of tests.
Technological advances will continue to have two opposing effects on employment.
On the one hand, new, increasingly powerful diagnostic tests will encourage
additional testing and spur employment. On the other hand, research and
development efforts targeted at simplifying routine testing procedures may
enhance the ability of non-laboratory personnel—physicians and patients in
particular—to perform tests now conducted in laboratories. Although hospitals
are expected to continue to be the major employer of clinical laboratory
workers, employment is expected to grow faster in medical and diagnostic
laboratories, offices of physicians, and all other ambulatory health care
Although significant, job growth will not be the only source of opportunities.
As in most occupations, many openings will result from the need to replace
workers who transfer to other occupations, retire, or stop working for some
Median annual earnings of medical and clinical laboratory technologists were
$45,730 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $38,740 and $54,310.
The lowest 10 percent earned less than $32,240, and the highest 10 percent
earned more than $63,120. Median annual earnings in the industries employing the
largest numbers of medical and clinical laboratory technologists in May 2004
were as follows: General medical and surgical hospitals, $46,020; Medical and
diagnostic laboratories, $45,840; Offices of physicians, $41,070.
Median annual earnings of medical and clinical laboratory technicians were
$30,840 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $24,890 and $37,770.
The lowest 10 percent earned less than $20,410, and the highest 10 percent
earned more than $45,680. Median annual earnings in the industries employing the
largest numbers of medical and clinical laboratory technicians in May 2004 were
as follows: Colleges, universities, and professional schools, $32,410; General
medical and surgical hospitals, $31,830; Offices of physicians, $29,620; Medical
and diagnostic laboratories, $29,220; Other ambulatory health care services,
According to the American Society for Clinical Pathology, median hourly wages of
staff clinical laboratory technologists and technicians in 2003 varied by
specialty and laboratory type as follows: Cytotechnoligists, $24.07 to $25.66;
Histotechnologists, $19.22 to $20.50; Medical technologists, $19.00 to $20.40;
Histotechnicians, $16.13 to $20.00; Medical laboratory technicians, $14.75 to
$16.12; Phlebotomists, $10.50 to $11.13.
Resources for Clinical Laboratory Technologists and
Technicians (Partial Listing)
There are 171 total resources are presented in the paperback
version of Health Care Job Explosion!
4th edition by Dennis V. Damp for this occupational group. Resources include Job
Ads, Job Hotlines, Job Fairs, Placement services, Associations, Books,
Directories and Internet (Web) Sites. Your local library may have this book in
their reference section or you can purchase a copy for $19.95 at your local
bookstore or order through our toll free service at 1-800-782-7424 (Orders
ADVANCE Newsmagazines - 650 Park Avenue West, Box 61556,
King of Prussia, PA 19406-0956; 800/355-1088. The web site
http://www.advanceweb.com/ is packed
with resources. Publishes ADVANCE for Medical Laboratory Professionals and
ADVANCE for Administrators of the Laboratory: free for professionals, many job
American Association of Blood Banks (AABB) - 8101 Glenbrook
Road, Bethesda, MD 20814-2749; 301/907-6977. Accredits blood banks and sponsors
workshops. Web site allows you to view job ads, post your résumé and receive
email job alerts. Provides networking for members through Special Interest
American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC) - Suite 202,
2101 L Street NW, Washington, DC 20037; 800/892-1400, 202/857-0717.
firstname.lastname@example.org Web site has a job
center, career information, email networking and many other excellent resources.
American Medical Technologists ( AMT) - 710 Higgins Rd., Park
Ridge, IL 60068, 847/823-5169. http://www.amt1.com
The AMT provides certification for several laboratory careers. The Web site has
a career center with job ads, scholarship information and a list of accredited
American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science (ASCLS), 6701
Democracy Blvd., Suite 300, Bethesda, MD 20817; 301-657-2768.
email@example.com Online Career Center to
research information on many laboratory careers, find scholarship information,
view job ads, post a résumé or receive email job alerts.
American Society for Clinical Pathology ( ASCP) - 2100 W.
Harrison St., Chicago, IL 60612; 312/738-1336. http://www.ascp.org, firstname.lastname@example.org The
ASCP has certification information. Their web site has career and scholarship
information. Post your résumé, view job ads or request email job alerts.
American Society for Cytotechnology (ASCT) - 1500 Sunday Drive,
Suite 102, Raleigh, North Carolina 27607; 919/861-5571; 800/948-3947.
email@example.com Job ads and links to cytology
information on web site.
American Society for Microbiology - 1752 N Street NW, Washington, DC 20036;
202/737-3600. http://www.asm.org. The ASM web
site has career information and a minority mentoring program. Online you can
read job ads, post a résumé and receive email job alerts.
Clinical Laboratory Management Association (CLMA) - 989 Old
Eagle School Road, Suite 815, Wayne, Pennsylvania 19087-1704; 610/995-9580.
Opportunities section of the web site has job ads for management. technicians
Laboratory Jobs on All Healthcare Jobs - Search job ads, post
your résumé or receive email job alerts from a link on the main web page at
National Society for Histotechnology (NSH) - 4201 Northview
Drive, Suite 502, Bowie, MD 20716-2604; 301/262-6221.
firstname.lastname@example.org Employment section of web site
lists jobs. Request a free brochure on the profession or rent a video. Online
directory of state societies, training programs and scholarship information.
Opportunities in Medical Technology Careers by Karen R. Karni,
Hardcover, $14.95. Published by VGM Career Horizons, 1996.
Resume Writing Service - Professionally package your health care
resume for entry level, standard, and executive positions.
The following health technologist occupations are featured in the all new 4th
Health Care Job Explosion!. Each of the following occupations are featured
exactly like the
clinical laboratory technologists and technicians occupational description
on this page and includes resources for each listing. Your local library may
have this book in their reference section or you can purchase a copy for $19.95
plus $5.75 shipping with all major credit cards from our toll free service at
1-800-782-7424 (Orders Only).