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Job Descriptions

Medical Laboratory Technician

Medical laboratory technicians work in private laboratories, health research organizations, medical clinics, pharmaceutical companies, or laboratory departments in hospitals. If you are a medical laboratory technician, you will have some clearly defined and repetitive tasks (e.g., taking blood samples from patients, conducting laboratory tests), however it will depend on if you prefer to work with the public (e.g., patients) or if you prefer to work in a lab.


This job requires an associate’s degree or program certificate as a medical or laboratory technician and some employers may require national board certification, professional association certification, or state certification.

Previous Experience

Previous experience as a medical and laboratory technician is preferred. However, it is strongly encouraged that you apply if you have the required education and skills!

Job Duties

  • Collect blood, urine, or tissue samples from patients.
  • Label samples for testing.
  • Record or log medical samples.
  • Prepare samples for testing.
  • Set up and use laboratory equipment for testing (e.g., microscope, centrifuge).
  • Conduct chemical analyses or blood tests.
  • Monitor ongoing tests.
  • Clean and maintain laboratory equipment.
  • Record and enter test results into a computer program.
  • Your supervisor may ask you to carry out duties other than those listed here.

What’s Your Scene?

For some jobs, it depends on whether you work mainly with the public (e.g., clients/customers) or just co-workers. For example, this job requires that you are able to work ‘In the Scene’. If you are working as a medical laboratory technician, you may be working with patients on a regular basis.  You will be speaking with and interacting with patients daily and must have relatively strong social skills.  In some instances, patients may be nervous or anxious if they are getting their blood drawn, so it can be helpful if you are able to put them at ease. You will also need to interact with co-workers (e.g. other medical staff, your supervisor) regularly.


This job requires that you are able to work ‘Behind the Scene’. If you are working as a medical laboratory technician, you may not be working with the public on a regular basis. You may be required to speak with and interact with co-workers (e.g., other medical staff), as well as your supervisor. 

Skills / Abilities

Science (Biology, Chemistry) - Having knowledge of higher level biology, chemistry, and math will be helpful. Many of these skills and abilities will be provided by your college education. However, the foundation for this knowledge will begin with high school-level courses.

Mathematics  - You will need to be able to do basic counting quickly and accurately (e.g., addition, subtraction, division, multiplication, fractions, and percentages).

Customer Service- If you are working directly with patients, then you will need to know how to provide excellent customer service skills.  This includes being able to determine if the patients is satisfied, and to meet their needs. It requires the ability to accept complaints from patients, and to calmly deal with high stress situations and angry patients. Displaying a pleasant and cooperative attitude is important.

Reading Comprehension - Demonstrated ability to read, and follow written instructions and ideas.

Oral Comprehension - Demonstrated ability to understand and follow verbal instructions and ideas.

Oral Expression - You will be required to speak clearly and effectively.

Written Expression - You will be required to write and spell correctly.

Attention to Detail - This job requires that you pay careful attention to what you are doing as you will be dealing with precise measurements regarding medical specimens (e.g., blood).

Computer Knowledge - You will need to have some knowledge of computers as you may need to enter information into a computer program.

Organization and Prioritization - This job requires the ability to clearly organize and categorize work priorities to complete your work.

Confidentiality - This job requires the ability to maintain confidentiality of patient records and protect confidential information.

Ability to follow Health and Safety Procedures – Working in the healthcare industry requires that you closely follow health and safety rules and procedures. You will need to be able to carry out these procedures and follow these rules for the safety of your patient and for your own safety. Cleanliness is an important part of following health and safety codes.

Environmental Demands

Location – If you work in a laboratory or clinic, you will be indoors in a climate-controlled setting.

Noise Level - The noise level will usually be low.

Lighting Level  - Medical offices and laboratories usually use florescent lighting.

Work Hours- This job may have part-time or full-time shifts. You will need to check with your supervisor for the schedule.

Amount of Movement –This job typically requires that you stand and sit.  You will need to be able to sit, stand, and walk for this job. For example, you may be drawing blood from a patient, or looking into a microscope to examine a slide.

Cleanliness and Odors - Cleanliness is an important part of this job, as you are required to follow certain health care codes. Cleaning may also be part of your job duties.

Work Attire - Work attire will typically be a uniform.

Structure and Predictability - This job will typically have a higher degree of structure and predictability.  This means that you will usually complete the same tasks each day (e.g., analyzing medical samples) and you may be able to complete these tasks in the same order each day.  You will probably know how long each task should take you to complete.  You will probably work in the same areas each day, however, you might not always interact with the same people each day.

What's the Pace?

    • Steady: If you work in a clinic with patients, in most cases, the work pace will be steady, which means that there will always be patients waiting to have their blood drawn or a medical sample taken. There may be 1-2 patients waiting for you to see them.
    • Peak: There might be other times when there are many (5-6) patients waiting for you. This may be a more stressful period because patients will be waiting for you to complete your tasks.
    • Slow:  There may also be some "down time," when there are very few patients. This may be a more boring period, where you are required to just wait for patients.

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