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Biomedical Lab Technician Career

Biomedical lab technicians perform an important role by conducting medical tests that help doctors diagnose certain conditions. These technicians will perform a wide variety of functions, and must be flexible enough to meet the ever-changing demands of a fast-paced medical laboratory.

What is a Biomedical lab technician?

A biomedical lab technician will act as a liaison between physicians and their patients in order to diagnose and treat injuries, illnesses and diseases. They will be in charge of performing tests using a variety of medical equipment and for a number of different purposes. These technicians will also be responsible for the safe handling of specimens in addition to ensuring accurate results are provided.

Duties and Responsibilities

A biomedical lab technician’s duties can include scheduling, greeting patients, and answering any questions they may have about certain procedures. He or she will also match computerized physicians’ orders with specimen labels to ensure the right chain of custody is followed. Logging specimens, making reports, and updating medical charts is also required. In between patients, technicians will be required to clean and sanitize their work stations in order to prevent the spread of disease.

Working Conditions

Biomedical lab technician jobs are performed indoors in a medical facility, where exposure to the elements is not a concern. Even so, technicians may spend a great deal of time standing each day. These professionals are constantly exposed to bodily fluids, and can easily contract HIV or another communicable disease if the proper precautions are not taken. Working hours are normally during regular business hours; however, some hospitals have lab technicians available around the clock to perform tests on an emergency basis.

Necessary Skills and Abilities

Lab technicians often deal with patients who are under a great deal of stress, which means the ability to remain calm and collected at all times is important. Compassion toward others is also an essential skill, since lab technicians may have to perform tests that are painful and invasive. Medical knowledge is also essential, which is why a course of study will include training in anatomy, medical terminology and common diseases. Technicians should also have excellent verbal and written communications skills, since they will regularly interact with others both in person and in writing.

Education and Training

At least an Associate’s degree in medical lab technology is required in order to work in this capacity. An educational program should be accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). Some of the classes that are typically required include histology, chemistry, microbiology, hematology and phlebotomy. Training will consist of a combination of classroom work and hands-on activity.

Cost of Becoming One

The cost of becoming a biomedical lab technician will vary greatly between schools. Sixty credit hours are normally required in order to graduate, with the cost per credit hour ranging from $100 to $300, depending upon the school. Students can also expect to pay anywhere from $400 to $1,500 per semester for books, and may also be charged up to $250 per year for lab or other fees. These charges are in addition to the cost of food, housing, transportation and uniforms if required.

Job Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the number of biomedical lab technician jobs will increase by approximately 15 percent by the year 2020. The primary reason for this job growth is expected to be the aging population, as more medical tests tend to be needed as a person grows older. Advances in the medical field will also lead to new tests being developed, hence the need for more lab technicians to perform them. More positions will also become available as technicians who are already working in this field retire or change careers.

Salary Range

According to Simply Hired, the salary range for a biomedical lab technician is anywhere from $25,000 to $45,000, with most making somewhere around $35,000 annually. Things that will affect the amount of salary one makes is geographic location and amount of experience. Those who have a Bachelor’s degree can also expect to make more money. Technicians also tend to receive a generous benefits package, which can include medical, life, and dental insurance, retirement plan, paid vacation and sick time, and a uniform allowance.

Biomedical lab technicians play an important role in ensuring people stay healthy and receive the treatment they need. One of these positions would be perfect for someone who wants to make a difference in patients’ lives and enjoys working with a variety of different people on a daily basis.