Laboratory services representatives work with medical samples in hospitals, private firms and forensic labs. The minimum educational requirement for entry-level positions is a certificate or associate's degree in clinical laboratory science. Some states also require certification.
Laboratory services representatives, also known as laboratory technicians, prepare and organize medical samples for testing. Preparation needed for this career field generally includes completing either certificate or associate's degree programs in related fields. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) points out that some states may require workers to be registered or licensed in accordance with state law. Some states may also require professionals to hold job-specific certification. This career would most likely appeal to individuals who are detail oriented, who don't mind doing repetitive tasks, and for those who don't necessarily want to deal directly with patients.
|Required Education||Certificate or associate's degree in clinical laboratory science|
|Licensure and Certification||Licensure or registration required in some states; state-mandated certification|
|Median Annual Salary (May 2018)*||$52,330 (for Clinical Laboratory Technologists and Technicians)|
|Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)*||11% (for Clinical Laboratory Technologists and Technicians)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Most non-hospital laboratories operate on a weekday schedule, while hospital or government facility labs, such as a forensics lab, remain open 24 hours a day. Most laboratory services representatives work in hospitals, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Other locations that provide job opportunities include:
- Research and development firms
- Private practice facilities
- Home health services
Most employers require laboratory services technicians to complete an associate's degree program as a medical assistant or laboratory assistant, or a certificate program as a clinical laboratory assistant. Certificate programs are usually offered at community colleges and take six months to a year to complete. They cover topics such as the handling of bio-hazardous material, using laboratory testing equipment, and understanding medical diagnoses. A two-year degree program offers more career opportunities for advancement. The training covers similar topics as a certificate program, but the classes go into much more detail. An associate's degree may also cover some of the additional training required by some states to work as a laboratory assistant.
Medical and clinical laboratory technicians earned an average annual salary of $41,700 in 2018, according to the BLS. Industries that paid the highest salaries in this field were dentists' offices, individual and family services, and computer systems design and related services.
The top paying states for laboratory technicians included Rhode Island, Alaska, New Jersey, Vermont, and New York. Rhode Island paid technicians an average of $57,690 a year, while those technicians working in Alaska made an average of $54,410 annually in 2018.
In order to work as a laboratory services rep, one needs to obtain an associate's degree or complete a certificate program in clinical laboratory science. Some states require licensure, so interested candidates should check to see the requirements for the state they intend to work in.