The laboratory technician profession is 80% women, with an unemployment rate of less than the national average (3% vs 7%). The outlook for growth is above-average too, due to current trends: a growing elderly population leading to an increase in the demand for health care services, development of new technologies for diagnoses and treatments, and increasing government investment in health care. However, the increased use of automated diagnostic and treatment procedures will probably slow down job growth. The highest concentrations of medical laboratory technicians are in Alberta and Quebec, and the lowest in Newfoundland and New Brunswick.
Medical laboratory technician job description
The medical laboratory technician works in medical research labs in hospitals, clinics, research institutes and universities, as well as in government research labs.
Main duties of the laboratory technician
- Collect blood and other samples from patients
- Receive tissue samples from patients
- Note patient samples and prepare them for testing
- Prepare medical lab equipment
- Conduct current lab tests and analyze samples
- Clean and maintain the medical lab and its equipment
Education to be a laboratory technician
To be a medical lab technician, you need to have a high school diploma and have received on-the-job training, or taken a 6-to-14-month course for lab technicians or assistants. To be a medical and radiology lab technician, you must have taken a combined course in laboratory technology and radiology.
Most new workers in the field have a college diploma, and almost 40% have a bachelor’s degree.
Skills and qualities
- Head for business
- Communication skills
- Computer skills
The average medical laboratory technician salary is close to the national average and is growing faster than average.
Career path of the laboratory technician
Clinics and private labs offer good job opportunities. Keep your knowledge of new medical technologies up to date and improve your communication skills in order to stand out from other candidates.