How to Become a Lab Technologist: Education and Career Roadmap

Learn how to become a lab technologist. Research the education and career requirements, licensure and experience required for starting a career as a lab technologist. View article »

View 10 Popular Schools »

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

94% college-bound high school students
…said it was important to communicate with colleges during the search process. (Source: Noel-Levitz 2012 trend study)

Select a school or program

View More Schools
Show Me Schools
  • 0:00 Should I Become a Lab…
  • 0:46 Career Requirements
  • 1:19 Lab Technologist Job Steps

Find the perfect school

Video Transcript

Should I Become a Lab Technologist?

Medical laboratory technologists, also called lab technologists, work in medical facilities and are responsible for collecting and analyzing blood samples, tissues, and bodily fluids. The results of these tests are used to determine normal and abnormal findings in patients. Physicians receive these reports and interpret the findings.

Some places of employment for these professionals, such as medical labs and hospitals, are open 24 hours a day, which will require technologists to work graveyard, weekend, and holiday shifts. Technologists must often work with infectious substances, but proper safety precautions pose little risks for them. The job typically requires several hours standing.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Bachelor's degree
Licensure/Certification Some states require licensure
Key Skills In order to work in the field, lab technologists need to be detail-oriented and good with their hands; understand how to use complex laboratory equipment such as cell counters, automated instruments, and microscopes
Median Salary (May 2015)* $60,520

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job postings in August 2012

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Anesthesiologist Assistant
  • Chiropractic Technician
  • Clinical Laboratory Assistant
  • EMT Ambulance
  • Health Aide
  • Home Health Aide
  • Medical or Clinical Assistant
  • Medication Aide
  • Occupational Therapist Assistant
  • Pathology Assistant
  • Pharmacy Technician
  • Physical Therapist Assistant
  • Respiratory Therapy Technician
  • Veterinary Technician

Lab Technologist Job Steps

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

Students enrolled in a medical laboratory science bachelor's degree program take courses in a variety of disciplines, such as chemistry, immunology, microbiology, hematology, and biology. Courses in the program include immunology, clinical chemistry, molecular diagnosis, organic chemistry, and physics. Several laboratory requirements must also be fulfilled to work in the field. Students develop a variety of clinical skills that prepare them to work in a laboratory setting, including cognitive and psychomotor skills.

Step 2: Complete Clinical Training

Medical laboratory science courses require students to complete clinical training in a medical facility. This is an opportunity for students to begin working in a professional setting under the supervision of an experienced lab technologist. Initially, students may perform nominal duties, but as they gain experience, they'll be given a chance to perform more complex tasks. Students learn how to handle specimens, protect against infectious samples, promote a safe work environment, and create lab reports.

Step 3: Pass the Certification Exam

The Board of Registry of the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) offers certification for medical lab technologists. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, certification may be required for licensure in some states, and employers typically prefer to hire applicants who have earned certification. In order to earn certification, technologists need to graduate from an accredited bachelor's degree program and pass an examination.

Step 4: Gain Experience and Earn Additional Certifications

Earning multiple certifications and gaining experience in a specialized area of lab technology may lead to additional career opportunities. Specialized certifications are available through the ASCP in blood banking, cytogenetics, hematology, microbiology, and more.

In summary, lab technologists need a bachelor's degree related to medical laboratory technology, and they may peruse certification and licensure.

Next: View Schools

What is your highest level of education?

Some College
Complete your degree or find the graduate program that's right for you.
High School Diploma
Explore schools that offer bachelor and associate degrees.
Still in High School
Earn your diploma or GED. Plan your undergraduate education.

Schools you may like:

Popular Schools

The listings below may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users.

    • MSHS in Clinical Microbiology
    • BSHS in Medical Laboratory Sciences

    What is your highest level of education?

    • MS in Nursing
    • Master of Healthcare Administration
    • BS in Health Science
    • Bachelors of Science in Nursing - RN to BSN
    • BS in Healthcare Administration
    • BS in Health and Wellness

    What is your highest level of education completed?

    • EdD in Organizational Leadership - Health Care Administration
    • MBA: Health Systems Management
    • MS in Health Care Administration
    • BS in Health Sciences: Professional Development & Advanced Patient Care
    • Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Health Science
    • BS in Health Care Administration

    What is your highest level of education?

    • Doctor of Strategic Leadership - Healthcare Leadership
    • Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership - Healthcare Management
    • Master of Business Administration - Healthcare Management

    What is your highest level of education completed?

  • What is your highest level of education?

    • Medical Assistant-Certificate

    What is your highest level of education completed?

  • What is your highest level of education completed?

    • MBA Healthcare Administration

    What is your highest level of education?

    • Bachelor of Science in Health Science with a Concentration in Magnetic Resonance Imaging
    • Bachelor of Science in Health Science with a Concentration in Computed Tomography
    • Associate of Science in Health Science

    What is your highest level of education completed?

    • MBA - Healthcare Administration
    • Master of Science in Management - Healthcare Administration

    What is your highest level of education completed?

Find your perfect school

What is your highest level of education?