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Laboratory technicians perform routine lab tests in clinical and medical laboratories. A postsecondary certificate or associate degree is usually required. Some states also require lab techs to be licensed. Lab techs need a variety of technical skills to perform their jobs accurately and safely.
Medical and clinical laboratories contain many different kinds of complex and high-tech equipment. Much of the laboratory equipment is electronic and computer skills are required. Lab techs must know how to calibrate, operate, troubleshoot and maintain the equipment. A chemical analyzer, for example, must be correctly programmed for the specific tests the physician has ordered. Dexterity and good eye-hand coordination are required to collect and prepare specimens and use microscopes and needles. Lab techs must follow instructions and procedures very carefully. They must also use critical thinking skills to recognize problems and develop solutions or alternative approaches. Safety is of paramount importance in a laboratory, as many specimens could cause an infection. Lab techs must use proper precautions to protect themselves and other workers. Good interpersonal skills are necessary to put patients at ease and build rapport with patients and coworkers.