A career as a Medical Laboratory Technician CAN be very GRATIFYING and REWARDING, as you will be working closely with physicians to meet the healthcare needs of patients. Not only that but as a Medical Laboratory Technician, you WILL build an EXCELLENT platform for career advancement opportunities in the healthcare industry. According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, the –

“Employment of Medical Laboratory Technicians is projected to grow 7 percent from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations.”

However, before you CAN become a Medical Laboratory Technician, you MUST complete the educational requirements and PASS the MLT examination. With that said,

To help you along your journey, our Medical Laboratory Technician career guide explores areas such as educational requirements, roles and duties of a Medical Laboratory Technician, career paths to salaries, and a breakdown of the Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT) examination.


Table of Contents

What Does A Medical Laboratory Technician Do?
Overview Of The Steps To Become A Medical Laboratory Technician (CHART)
Medical Laboratory Technician Educational Requirements And Prerequisites
Medical Laboratory Technician Certification Agencies
Medical Laboratory Technician Continuing Education (CE) Requirements
Renewing Your Medical Laboratory Technician License
Understanding The Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT) Exam
How to Transfer Your Medical Laboratory Technician License to Another State
Medical Laboratory Technician Career Paths
Medical Laboratory Technician Salary
Medical Laboratory Technician Industry Statistics
Medical Laboratory Technician Industry Earning Potential by State
Medical Laboratory Technician  Highest Paying US Cities
Choosing The BEST Medical Laboratory Technician Program For You
Search Medical Laboratory Technician Jobs In Your Area
Additional Resources


What Does A Medical Laboratory Technician Do?

As a Medical Laboratory Technician, you will work in different healthcare facilities under the close supervision of a physician, lab managers, or lab technologists. As you gain more experience, you MAY be asked to take on greater responsibilities over time. With that said,

Some of your duties MAY include:

Collecting and preparing specimens

Analyzing blood, urine, and tissue samples

Recording your findings and reporting them to your supervisor

Explaining the testing procedures to patients and answering any questions they have

Approving samples collected by physicians, nurses, and other medical professionals

Ensuring the working environment is clean and follows the assigned healthcare guidelines

Calibrating equipment and if required developing standard operating procedures

Determining correct reference ranges for various tests

PLEASE NOTE: As you WILL learn later in this guide, you MAY be required to take on greater responsibilities as you specialize in specific areas of your work.


Overview Of The Steps To Become A Medical Laboratory Technician (CHART)

 





Medical Laboratory Technician Educational Requirements And Prerequisites

Before you can become ELIGIBLE for the Medical Laboratory Technician examination, you WILL need to SUCCESSFULLY meet the educational requirements. The good news, is unlike other certifications that only have one (1) pathway to becoming licensed; Medical Laboratory Technicians have several routes. With that said,

The EXACT requirements will depend on the CERTIFICATION agency; however, below are the standard requirements common amongst all agencies. (with the EXCEPTION of the STATE of California – Click here for their Eligibility Requirements).

Now, let’s explore each route below:

ROUTE 1

The candidate MUST have an Associate degree or 60 semester hours (90 quarter hours) of academic credit from a college/university accredited by a recognized regional or national accreditation agency,

AND,

Successful completion of a NAACLS or ABHES accredited MLT program within the last five years.

PLEASE NOTE: The education received from an accredited Medical Laboratory Technician program is VALID for a period of five (5) years from the date of completion. If the five (5) years have expired, the candidate’s eligibility is based on their clinical laboratory experience, as stated in the current examination eligibility requirements.

ROUTE 2

The candidate has a VALID CLA(ASCP)* certification,

AND,

The candidate has an associate degree or 60 semester hours (90 quarter hours) of academic credit from a regionally accredited college/university with six (6) semester hours (9 quarter hours) in chemistry and six (6) semester hours (9 quarter hours) in biology.

ROUTE 3

The candidate has an Associate degree or 60 semester hours (90 quarter hours) of academic credit from a regionally accredited college/university with six (6) semester hours (9 quarter hours) in chemistry and six (6) semester hours (9 quarter hours) in biology,

AND,

Successful completion of a 50-week U.S. Military Medical Laboratory Training course within the last ten (10) years.

ROUTE 4

The candidate has an associate degree or 60 semester hours (90 quarter hours) of academic credit from a regionally accredited college/university with six (6) semester hours (9 quarter hours) in chemistry and six (6) semester hours (9 quarter hours) in biology,

AND,

The candidate has three (3) years of full time acceptable clinical experience in blood banking, chemistry, hematology, microbiology, immunology, and urinalysis/body fluids in an accredited laboratory within the last six years.

IMPORTANT

Below you will find a listing of the MOST popular agencies that offer the applicable Medical Laboratory Technician Certification examination. We encourage that you familiarize yourself with each of the agency requirements, differences, and commonalities. Subsequently, this will enable you to assess whether your working experience and educational requirements align with the prerequisites of the applicable agency.


Medical Laboratory Technician Certification Agencies

American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
American Medical Technologists (AMT)
American Association of Bioanalysts (AAB) (CALIFORNIA)


Medical Laboratory Technician Continuing Education (CE) Requirements

As a Medical Laboratory Technician, you will be required to complete continuing education (CE) credits to maintain an ACTIVE license. The number of CREDITS required will depend on the Medical Laboratory Technician agency you received your certification from.

Let’s explore the MOST popular accredited Medical Laboratory Technician agencies and their requirements for your certification to remain eligible.

1) American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)

The TOTAL number of CE points required: 36 (Must be COMPLETED every Three (3) years)

One (1) point in laboratory or patient safety (i.e., quality control, quality assurance)

Two (2) points in each of the following: blood banking, chemistry, hematology, microbiology

Remaining points in area(s) of lab specialty, immunology, molecular diagnostics, management, education, or other related laboratory areas of interest

PLEASE NOTE: More information on credential renewal can be found here: Medical Laboratory Technician, MLT

2) American Medical Technologists (AMT)

The TOTAL number of CE points required: 45 (Must be COMPLETED every Three (3) years)

Or,

RECERTIFY by taking the Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT) examination.

PLEASE NOTE: More information on credential renewal can be found here: Medical Laboratory Technician, MLT

3) American Association of Bioanalysts (AAB) (CALIFORNIA)

In the STATE of California, you MUST renew your license every two (2) years by completing a total of 24 contact hours of continuing education provided by a Department-approved accrediting agency or an accredited academic institution.

To complete the renewal requirement, you MUST pay a fee and submit documentation of continuing education.


Renewing Your Medical Laboratory Technician License

As just mentioned above, continuing education units are required for your certification to remain active and imperative for you to be able to RENEW your Medical Laboratory Technician license.

Please read section – Medical Laboratory Technician Continuing Education (CE) Requirements and visit the applicable agency relevant to you for more information.





Understanding The Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT) Exam

Each one of the Accredited Medical Laboratory certification agencies below has its own specific examination structure i.e. registration process, fee, and scoring. We have provided a brief OVERVIEW of each one below.

1) American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)

Once eligible, you can apply for the Medical Laboratory Technician certification exam by creating an ASCP account. Once registered, submit the eligibility application with applicable documentation.

Pay exam fee of $215.00.

Wait for your email notification to login to view your Admission Notice, you may schedule your examination appointment at a Pearson VUE Testing Cente.

The Medical Laboratory Technician examination is scheduled for 2 hours and 30-minutes with 100 questions. Learn more about the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) exam scoring method, please view the Candidate Handbook (Page 28 – 30)

2) American Medical Technologists (AMT)

Once you have completed all the educational requirements, you WILL be ELIGIBLE to SIT for the Medical Laboratory Technician examination. Start by creating an AMT account,  then, please visit PearsonVUE to select a testing location near you.

Pay exam fee of $175.00.

The exam consists of 210 questions. View exam overview/content here.

SOURCE

To learn more about the American Medical Technologists (AMT) exam scoring method, please view the Candidate Handbook (Page 5 – 6)

3) American Association of Bioanalysts (AAB) (CALIFORNIA)

Once eligible, you can apply for the Medical Laboratory Technician certification exam. The examination is offered in California three (3) to four (4) times a year. The examination dates and sites are posted on the AAB website.

Pay exam fee of $165.00.

The Medical Laboratory Technician examination is structured using a two-fold scoring system. For example, the candidate MUST answer 50% of the questions correct in each of the five (5) disciplines and MUST answer at least 60% correct on the basic knowledge discipline.

To PASS the Medical Laboratory Technician examination, the candidate MUST have an OVERALL score of 60% when the BASIC knowledge section and each of the five (5) discipline SUBJECTS are combined.

SOURCE

PREPARATORY MATERIALS

Henry’s Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods
Basic & Applied Concepts of Blood Banking and Transfusion Practices 4th Edition
Clinical Laboratory Blood Banking and Transfusion Medicine Practices
Clinical Chemistry: Principles, Techniques, Correlations 8th Edition
Clinical Hematology Atlas 5th Edition
Immunology: With STUDENT CONSULT Online Access (Immunology (Roitt)) 8th Edition
Fundamentals of Urine and Body Fluid Analysis 4th Edition


How to Transfer Your Medical Laboratory Technician License to Another State

The Medical Laboratory Technician Certification is a Nationally recognized qualification, and therefore can be used across any State. Hence, if you decide to relocate to another STATE at any point, your certification will remain valid. No forms or recertifications exams are required. However, for the State of California, please visit the California Department of Public Health as their rules and regulations MAY differ from the rest of the STATES.


 

Medical Laboratory Technician Career Paths

As a Medical Laboratory Technician, you will have the opportunity to transition into other jobs in the healthcare industry. The knowledge and skills you GAIN throughout the years working as a Medical Laboratory Technician will provide you with a strong foundation to pursue careers that are NOT only more rewarding, but pay higher wages with better benefits. For example, transitioning into becoming a Chemical Technologist, Medical Technologist, and Medical Laboratory Scientist are all viable options.

Let’s explore these three options in more detail:

Chemical Technologist:  Becoming a Medical Laboratory Technician is a great way to gain the knowledge and experience you NEED to become a Chemical Technologist. As a Chemical Technologist, you will monitor and adjust processing equipment that chemists use for research and development at manufacturing facilities. With that said, the current average salary for a Chemical Technologist is $71,717 per year. Not to mention, depending on where you work, you CAN enjoy GREATER benefits too.

Medical Technologist: As a Medical Laboratory Technician, you have the option to transition into becoming a Medical Technologist by upgrading your certification through the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP). A Medical Technologist has a pivotal role in the healthcare industry because they are highly skilled at testing and analyzing blood, other body fluids, and tissue samples. The current average salary for a Medical Technologist is $57,752, however as you GAIN experience, you WILL enjoy a salary range of anywhere between $65,000 – $90,000 plus benefits.

Medical Laboratory Scientist: With a salary range of $57,691 to $81,894, a career as a Medical Laboratory Scientist CAN be very rewarding. You will take on greater responsibilities because you will use a more theoretical approach in analzying various biological specimens and reporting the results to physicians. Not to mention, as a Medical Laboratory Scientist, you will have the opportunity to transition into other certifications by upgrading your education too.





Medical Laboratory Technician Salary

The average annual salary for a Medical Laboratory Technician is $52,065, with the average Medical Laboratory Technician hourly pay being $20.04.

Figures are reflective as of September 2020 (Indeed.com)


Medical Laboratory Technician Industry Statistics

 

Figures are reflective as of May 2019 (bls.gov)

Figures are reflective as of May 2019 (bls.gov)


Medical Laboratory Technician Industry Earning Potential by State

 

Figures are reflective as of May 2019 (bls.gov)


Medical Laboratory Technician  Highest Paying US Cities

 

Figures are reflective as of May 2019 (bls.gov)


Choosing The BEST Medical Laboratory Technician Program For You

Once you have decided to become a Medical Laboratory Assistant, it is essential you gain the educational requirements to SIT the Medical Laboratory National examination. As you will learn when researching a program to attend, you will have several options, and not all training programs are alike. For example, some Medical Laboratory Technician training programs are offered part-time, and some are full-time. Not only that, but some programs have been around longer, so they can offer additional learning resources compared to others. With that said, it’s IMPORTANT to take into consideration various FACTORS before selecting a Medical Laboratory Technician program. Therefore, we have listed the common questions you should consider before finalizing your choice:

1) What is the LENGTH of the Medical Laboratory Technician program? Full-time, Part-time, or Online?

When it comes time to finalize your choice, it’s essential to choose a school/training program that FIT’s well into your schedule and responsibilities. Many people will have responsibilities that include working full-time or caring for family members, so MAY NOT attend classes full-time. With that said, think about your flexibility before choosing a training program and how well the timings will FIT into your schedule. You also want to keep in mind that a part-time training program compresses the workload into a shorter period. This type of learning CAN be overwhelming for some people. If this is the case, then opting into a full-time Medical Laboratory Technician training program WILL be a more viable choice.

2) Has the Medical Laboratory Technician program been ACCREDITED by the NAACLS or ABHES?

It is IMPORTANT that you choose a Medical Laboratory Technician training program that has been accredited by the NAACLS or ABHES because only then will you be eligible to SIT for the National examination. We recommend visiting the schools/training programs website to locate ACCREDITATION information. You CAN also CALL or VISIT the school’s admission office to get more information.

3) Will the Medical Laboratory Technician program offer opportunities to transition into other progressive roles or further education? How about work opportunities?

Before choosing a program, it’s ESSENTIAL to think about your future aspirations and where you see your career progressing in the next two (2)- five (5) years. We recommend attending a school/training program that will give you a chance to grow and complete other progressive CERTIFICATIONS if you choose to. From our experience, these training schools typically recognize a student’s FUTURE career goals and help prepare them by providing a solid foundation to work with. With that said, these same Medical Laboratory Technician training programs have built a SOLID network with employers, subsequently assisting the student with employment opportunities once they graduate from the program.

4) Are there any applicable student reviews/ratings about the Medical Laboratory Technician Program Being Offered?

The internet can be a great resource so use it to your advantage if you are a student. Before choosing a Medical Laboratory Technician training program, we recommend researching online and finding feedback about the school you are considering. It would also be a good idea to VISIT the campus to speak to CURRENT students enrolled in the MLT training program to get their thoughts as what to expect if you choose to attend. With that said, doing your own due diligence is a GREAT way to GAIN insight into the quality of education and learning they provide.


Search Medical Laboratory Technician Jobs In Your Area



Additional Resources

How to Become a Certified Medical Assistant – A Complete Guide
17 Best Laptops for Nursing Students
How to Become a Phlebotomist – A Complete Guide
How to Become a Certified Nursing Assistant – A Complete Guide
30 Common Nursing Interview Questions And Answers

 



Author: careercrawlers

careercrawlers

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