Medical Lab Technologist  What They Do

Just the Facts

Insider Info

dotMedical lab technicians or technologists work in medical laboratories. They perform various types of tests on samples, like blood. Their goal is to help diagnose and fight disease. They are an important part of every patient's health-care team.

dotThere are also medical laboratory technicians. Technologists have more responsibilities than technicians. Most of the people who do laboratory work are technologists.

dotLab techs may retrieve test samples from patients. This includes urine, blood and saliva. Back in the lab, techs use sophisticated instruments and testing techniques. They analyze the samples by studying blood cells, human tissue, bacteria and other micro-organisms.

dotPeople in this field work at hospitals, university labs, public health agencies, independent labs, doctors' offices or pharmaceutical firms. Most of these employers offer medical lab technicians a comfortable, clean work environment and a regular daytime work schedule. Hospital lab techs may be required to do shift and night work if the lab is open 24 hours a day.

dotYou don't have to be in top physical condition to do this work. But you should expect to spend a lot of time on your feet.

"Most of the day is spent standing at your lab station or walking around. There's not much time to sit down," says medical lab technologist Lois Graves.

dotThis is a good field for people who work well under pressure. Techs have to balance a busy schedule with a need for absolute accuracy.

"It can get pretty stressful. There's no room for mistakes in this job," says Indiana medical lab technician Hugh Price.

At a Glance

Work in a laboratory and do tests to help diagnose or treat disease

  • Lab techs work under pressure to produce accurate results
  • You may have to do shift or night work
  • Training in laboratory science is required