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What Is a Lab Technician, How Much Do They Make, and How Can You Become One?

Inside scientific laboratories, lab technicians, sometimes known as laboratory technicians, undertake a variety of jobs. Most lab technicians work in medical labs, but you may also be required to work with rocks, fluids, or other non-organic materials.

Tests are a big part of lab technician jobs, and they’re normally under the supervision of a senior scientist who’s in charge of an entire project. Their responsibilities could include checking blood samples for infections, testing medications to see if they function, or utilizing analytical equipment and recording the results.

Are you thinking about a career in this field? Here’s all you need to know about lab technicians: what they do, how much they make, and how to become one.

What Exactly Does a Lab Technician Do?

In short, lab technicians operate equipment and complete documentation to assist the lab’s operation.

Daily activities are usually quite regimented, with explicit plans outlining how to complete each task in the lab. Making mistakes throughout any stage of this procedure could have serious effects, so we believe this profession is best suited to people who value consistency in their lives, even if the exact tests vary from day to day.

This, incidentally, makes answering inquiries about your shortcomings during a job interview a little more difficult. Answering such questions successfully necessitates balancing honesty with persuading the company that you’re still a viable candidate.

Aside from that, most lab technicians are also accountable for adhering to privacy laws. This includes keeping data confidential in research labs so that competitors can not take it. This necessitates adherence to patient privacy rules in medical labs. In both circumstances, information breaches might result in termination; therefore, the ability to memorize and obey these rules is critical.

What Is an Average Day for a Lab Technician?

A clinical laboratory technician’s typical day might begin at any time, though most lab technicians work reasonably regular hours. When getting test results back fast is critical for a patient’s health, those who work in emergency medical facilities are the exceptions.

The rest of the day’s work is determined by the tasks that the supervisors want to be completed. Tasks might include:

  • Collecting blood or tissue samples
  • Analyzing existing samples
  • Preparing chemical solutions
  • Preparing and sterilizing sensitive testing equipment

A medical lab technician will most likely double-check lab orders, label specimens and tests, write reports, and maintain any other quality standards throughout the day.

By the end of the day, lab technicians may have entered data and prepared final reports, cleaned and sterilized equipment, or discussed specific test results with healthcare providers, insurance companies, or anyone else who requires information.

Day-to-day activity in labs that do not focus on medicinal processes is similar, although fewer conversations outside the lab exist.

Attention to precision is especially vital in this function because misplacing or mislabeling samples could be exceedingly dangerous to humans. This is why most lab workers double-check all instructions, even if they are already familiar with the procedure.

Finally, some lab professionals may devote time to researching novel laboratory techniques and equipment. Lab technicians may also keep track of resource usage and request new lab parts or supplies depending on the situation.

Is Working as a Lab Technician a Good Career?

That is dependent on what you are searching for in a job. While most employees would gladly leave for a better chance, lab technicians usually have decent job stability and some room for promotion inside the lab.

The main reason for this is that laboratories are expensive to set up and manage; therefore, anyone who runs one is likely to have long-term plans or demands. This could range from a pharmaceutical corporation researching new pharmaceuticals to a hospital conducting patient tests.

Some laboratories are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, especially in densely populated locations where things must be processed as fast as possible. Labs outside of urban areas, on the other hand, usually have regular hours. In any case, laboratories, and thus the services of lab technicians, are in high demand.

Although career paths vary, most lab technicians either stay in this position or rise to leadership. If you have reasonable training and experience, you could end up supervising a team of other lab technicians or moving on to a senior job.

Lab Technician Salary

According to Compensation.com, the typical lab technician salary is somewhat more than $60,000 per year. This is a reasonable amount in most locations, yet it may be too low for comfortable living in major cities (New York City, Seattle, and so on).

Newer lab technicians may start off earning roughly $40,000 per year, but this normally increases with experience.

How to Get a Job as a Lab Technician

Convincing a lab to recruit you sounds simple on paper, but it isn’t easy to talk your way into a laboratory technician post when you don’t have any expertise. Laboratories place a high value on safety, which includes hiring dependable personnel and having a compelling reason to leave their existing position.

You can work as a laboratory technician with merely a high school diploma or a GED. In fact, this constitutes a sizable proportion of lab personnel. The difference here is that most labs emphasize experience above all else; therefore, working in a scientific lab for at least two years will usually qualify you for a position here.

Approximately half of all lab technicians have a bachelor’s degree or higher, and a small percentage have a master’s degree or higher. Education is a critical factor in determining prospects for advancement.

A bachelor’s degree is frequently insufficient for a truly senior position in a lab. While a technician can eventually lead a team, most labs only hire head scientists with a master’s degree in a relevant discipline.

Head scientists frequently supervise tests and have final responsibility for ensuring everything is done correctly. Therefore, labs take this post seriously.

College students frequently spend some time in a lab while in school, making it much simpler to get work after graduation. If you are still not enrolled in school, you may be able to volunteer in a lab and perform some basic chores for them in order for them to get experience. This may eventually lead to employment as a lab technician.