Science Laboratory Technology

Job Description

Science laboratory technology is a major occupation for scientific research and development activities. The technology applies to healthcare facilities, pharmaceutical companies, and academical research institutes. Laboratories get services from the science laboratory technicians working together with scientists and researchers. The laboratory technicians ensure the smooth and continuous running of the laboratory facilities and maintain the scientific equipment. The technicians conduct experiments, collect data and conduct the investigations presented to them. Scientists and the laboratory technicians collaborate in the maintenance of the detailed and accurate records of research findings (United States Department of Labor, n.d.). Additionally, the scientists and technicians facilitate actual calibration of instruments and ensure adherence to the health and safety norms. The tasks performed by the science laboratory technicians presents the scientists’ abilities to concentrate and conduct the compound analytical processes in the laboratory. In the medical laboratories, the technicians prepare specimens and samples. For example, professionals may make food samples to investigate their safety to protect public health (Mukherjee, 2013). The professionals are responsible for conducting routine tasks following scientific methodologies in carrying out the analysis. Most importantly, it is the mandate of the laboratory technicians to ensure the observation of the strict safety checks and procedures of the laboratory (Bishop et al., 2013). The technicians are responsible for operating and maintaining the laboratory equipment to keep the laboratory up to date with the technological developments. To work as a scientific laboratory technician, the applicants need a scientific degree. However, some companies do not ask for degrees but instead require applicants to have A-levels especially in biology, physics, chemistry and mathematics.

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Education and Certification

Some workplaces and states require technicians who are licensed and with certifications from organizations such as the American Medical Technologists (United States Department of Labor, n.d.). Even though employers may not necessarily require applicants to possess degrees to become science laboratory technicians, the degree holders gain an added advantage in securing the available jobs in case of high competition. The preferred subjects mainly are biomedical medicine, biology, biotechnology, chemistry, pharmacology, and physics. Medical laboratory technicians should possess either a certificate or an associate degree approved by The National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences. Before applying, applicants have to complete the science courses and mathematics in high school and have to earn a high school diploma. Colleges and universities that offer the laboratory technician programs include the Miami Dade College and Broward College in Florida, and Northern Virginia Community College, CUNY York College and Mt. San Antonio College in California. Medical laboratory sciences certificate programs last for one year while the associate degree programs last for about one or two years. However, both programs introduce students to the basics of medical laboratory equipment and data analysis. Also, the programs introduce the students to practical training on urinalysis and mycology by learning techniques for examining the body fluids samples using the laboratory equipment.

Medical laboratory technicians receive certifications from agencies such as the American Society of Clinical Pathologists (ASCP) or the American Medical Technologists (AMT). The professionals certified by the medical bodies such as ASCP and AMT are the most desired and highly valued by the companies and organizations.

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There is high job availability because graduates of science laboratory technology can seek jobs in hospitals and public health agencies, pharmaceutical and chemical companies, and in environmental organizations researching on the probable pollutants of the environment. Large industrial corporations and government agencies engaged in research also employ the laboratory technicians. Additionally, utility companies and research institutions that require the services of the professionals make the occupation productive in job availability. According to the statistics from the United States Department of Labor, (n.d.), the chances of securing employment in medical laboratory science are expected to continue growing by 14% which is much faster in comparison with the average growth of other professions from 2014 to 2024. The demand for the medical laboratory technicians will keep increasing due to the increased numbers of the aging population requiring the diagnosis of their medical conditions through laboratory procedures. Additionally, the number of individuals with health insurance is projected to increase as a result of the federal health insurance reform. Patients who could not afford payment for the laboratory services before the insurance reforms will, therefore, get a chance of using the laboratory services. The increased number of patients using laboratory services will lead to an increase in the number of laboratory personnel to meet the demand.

Like in every occupation, some experience is a requirement in the laboratory science technology. Employers seek applicants with some experience to ensure that they are familiar with laboratory procedures. Practical experience accords applicants additional advantage when seeking jobs as it proves to employers that they are interested in and committed to the science laboratory field. Some institutions offering the laboratory programs include in a curriculum a given duration of time for students to join the industry to gain experience. Students on completion of their courses engage in voluntary and part-time tasks in the laboratories by approaching employers and seeking opportunities in their organizations. According to, (n.d.), the projected salary for the medical laboratory technicians increases with the increase in the years of experience. With the advancement of education and expertise, the opportunities and remuneration of the specialists also increase. The experience makes the technicians more proficient in the field, making them advance to the positions of lead professionals, team leaders or laboratory managers. Advancing in the career grants more responsibility and management of the laboratory to the extent of having the authority of handling complex laboratory tasks. Experience and advances in education provide the technicians with possibilities of becoming specialists in the field.

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Professional Activities

Students engage in professional activities and join professional organizations while progressing with their studies. The technicians, inclusive of students, can enter the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science (ASCLS). The ASCLS provides dynamic leadership and stimulates the features of laboratory science technology that facilitate the delivery of outstanding and accessible laboratory services to patients. Students of clinical laboratory science are required to pay $25 exclusive of the state dues of about $5 per year to join the ASCLS. After the payments of the membership fees, the students entitle themselves to the quarterly scientific journals about Clinical Laboratory Science and also the monthly newspaper of the organization. Additionally, students join the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) which offers free membership to students and acts as a link connecting students, their peers, and mentors (UNC School of Medicine, 2012). Apart from providing networking opportunities, ASCP provides career and certification information to students while promoting awareness of their efforts to improve health care.

Medical laboratory technicians are required to maintain continuously education in laboratory field to keep their skills updated with the changing technologies. Continuing education is mandatory especially when professionals need the renewal of their licenses the respective professional organizations that are valid for one to two years (Media Lab Incorporated, n.d.). Different employers require their employees to undertake and complete a given number of laboratory continuing courses every year or according to the durations set by the organizations. However, requirements of taking the continuing education courses differ from state to state. States such as West Virginia, California and Florida require laboratory staff to have licenses as well as undertake the continuing education classes. The number and frequency of taking the continuing education courses depend on the state, the license type, employer requirements, and the different needs of the professional organizations. Some states such as Georgia and Hawaii do not require the laboratory personnel to undertake the continuing education courses to acquire or renew their licenses. In the states that require the laboratory personnel to take the continuing education classes, the number of hours differs. For example, in California, Louisiana and New York, the technicians are required to take twelve continuing education hours every year. Other states such as Nevada and West Virginia need the professionals to undertake ten continuing education hours every year (Media Lab Incorporated, n.d.). The professional organizations require the laboratory personnel to complete the continuing education courses. Different employers require their staff to have the continuing educations courses to keep pace with the advances in technology and the dynamic profession.

How It Works


I am interested in the job of science laboratory technician because of the love for science and the excitement of chemistry and biology I had while undertaking the A levels. Due to the love for sciences, I pay more attention even to the finest details which are very crucial in the medical field, and I do not like being in the spotlight during my activities. Additionally, I like dealing with recurring tasks which are the case of the laboratory activities. Most importantly is the strong desire I have for getting engaged in a stable and secure career. What I did not know but I have discovered is that the science laboratory students can register with professional organizations such as ASCLS and ASCP. I have also learned that the required continuing education courses for technicians differ from state to state which I thought was universal to all the states. The most important and meaningful aspect of this field is the wide availability of job opportunities. Apart from working in the medical facilities only, the laboratory science personnel can work in research institutions, companies, and learning institutions.

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