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Professional Profile: Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT)

If you have interest in science and are extremely detail-oriented, a career as a Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT) may be right for you.

If you have interest in science and are extremely detail-oriented, a career as a Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT) may be right for you. MLTs collect samples and perform tests to analyze body fluids, tissue and other substances. Though they work behind the scenes, MLTs play a vital role in the quality of a patient’s healthcare by helping to diagnosis and prevent disease.

MLT duties include less complex routine tests and laboratory procedures, such as:

  • Preparing specimens for testing
  • Analyzing body fluids such as blood, urine and tissue samples, and recording normal or abnormal findings
  • Using automated equipment and computerized instruments capable of performing a number of tests at the same time
  • Working under the supervision of medical laboratory technologists or laboratory managers

Most MLTs have an associate degree from a community or junior college, a vocational or technical school, or the Armed Forces. Technicians who learned their skills on the job must also meet the educational requirements and necessary semester hours of training. Some states also require MLTs to be licensed or registered, and many employers prefer applicants who are certified by a recognized professional association, such as AMT. Medical laboratory technicians can advance and become technologists through additional education and experience.

Close attention to detail is an essential quality for MLTs, because small differences or changes in test substances or numerical readouts can be crucial to a diagnosis. Manual dexterity and normal color vision are also highly desirable, as well as computer skills, good analytical judgment and the ability to work under pressure.

Is it right for you? The role of an MLT!

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