6 Signs you’re cut out for a medical lab tech career
- You’ve always loved science
MLTs usually have a strong background in chemistry, biology and physiology. Specifically, knowledge of tissues and cells is required, as is an expert understanding of chemical compositions and interactions.
If this kind of knowledge excites you, that’s a good sign you’d enjoy a medical lab tech career, according to Renner. She says most MLT’s are fascinated figuring out what type of organism has infected a patient and, more importantly, which antibiotic will help destroy it.
But don’t think you have to be a science whiz from the get-go. Your basic curiosity and a healthy desire to learn will help you acquire everything you need to know from your MLT course curriculum.
- You’re extremely detail-oriented
Not everyone pays attention to the particulars. If you’re someone who values accuracy and thoroughness, the medical community needs you! MLT’s have to compile, categorize, code and calculate their findings to help doctors determine a diagnosis.
Missing the smallest detail could have big implications, as it could directly affect how the patient is treated. Complex problem solving and precise communication are also important characteristics of an MLT.
- You don’t mind repetition
You appreciate routine and are able to stay focused in the midst of recurring tasks. An MLT’s daily duties may seem redundant, but they know the importance of their work and complete each test with the same amount of precision.
“Each patient sample is treated individually,” Renner says. “We understand there is a life behind every sample we test.”
Renner adds that while the actions themselves may seem repetitious, many facilities allow MLTs to rotate through different departments within the lab. This variety helps keep things interesting.
- You prefer working behind the scenes
Not everyone wants to be center stage, and that’s ok! You don’t have to be interacting with patients at the bedside all day long in order to make a difference. A medical lab tech career will allow you to play an integral role in the healthcare system without being in the spotlight.
“Lab professionals do have patient contact, but on a limited scale,” Renner explains. MLTs may draw blood, instruct patients on how to properly collect body fluid or conduct other bedside tests. Even so, the majority of their time is spent in a peaceful and secluded work environment.
- You’re seeking a stable career
If security and stability are important to you—both in your life and in your career—look no further than an MLT career! Jobs for MLTs are projected to increase at a faster-than-average rate of 18 percent through 2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). As the population ages and medical issues arise in the elderly, this will lead to a greater need for MLTs to run tests to detect diseases such as type 2 diabetes or cancer.
Also, since more patients will be able to access healthcare as federal health legislation increases its availability, the need for MLTs will greatly increase. Changes like these indicate the future is bright in this field, so you can settle in for the long run.
- You’re eager to enter the workforce
Many healthcare careers are notorious for the extensive education process. But unlike becoming a surgeon or physical therapist, you can launch a medical lab tech career in less than four years! That’s right; some MLT associate degree programs can be completed in as little as 42 months.*
“We understand there is a life behind every sample we test.”
This means you’ll be working with your microscope in the lab sooner rather than later!