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Laboratory technicians work in a variety of testing and research roles and support scientists by conducting basic laboratory tests. These tests are conducted after in-depth research in various scientific fields, such as environmental science, chemistry or biology. A lab technician works as part of team to advance levels of scientific and clinical knowledge. The average salary of a medical laboratory technician as of November 2009 was $36,030, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics website.
Laboratory technicians play a crucial role in scientific research, so any inaccuracies in testing or analysis could have severe consequences on research results. A lab technician should be skilled in following instructions precisely and conducting tests accurately to ensure the validity of results. A laboratory technician should have moderate scientific knowledge and know how to apply scientific principles when analyzing specimens and data. He should also have decent numeracy and IT skills, as stated on the Connexions Direct website, as he needs to collate and analyze mathematical data via sophisticated computer software.
Lab technicians should also be knowledgeable of any technical developments or changes to research methods that occur in relevant scientific fields, as they may improve the efficiency of laboratory testing and analysis. A lab technician should also be aware of relevant health and safety procedures when handling reactive chemicals or operating sensitive equipment.
A laboratory assistant should be skilled in using basic laboratory equipment, such as microscopes and conditioning chambers. He will need to keep equipment clean and identify and report any malfunctions immediately. A laboratory technician should also be proficient in assessing stock levels of substances and equipment needed for testing purposes, and reorder supplies where necessary, as stated on the Apprenticeships website. He should also keep the laboratory in a clean state to ensure hygiene standards are adhered to and samples are not corrupted.
Laboratory technicians should also have manual dexterity. They will sometimes need to lift equipment and perform analysis on minute specimens so will need to have steady, and strong, hands
A laboratory technicians should be an excellent communicator, as he will need to compile mathematical and written reports following analysis. He should also possess excellent interpersonal skills as he will be required to to produce verbal or written reports on his findings to senior scientists. . A lab technician should also have strong analytical and problem-solving abilities as he is not only expected to record results but also interpret them.
Laboratory technicians typically require a high school diploma to gain a work placement. Diplomas in maths or sciences offer a good foundation of scientific and knowledge and are likely to be favored by prospective employers. The most common route to laboratory technician work is to enroll on a two-year training program accredited by the Committee on Allied Health Education and Accreditation or the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS), as indicated on the State University website. Certification is also available from a number of organizations, including the American Medical Technologists and the American Society for Clinical Pathology. Certification is not mandatory, but is likely to enhance candidate’s chances of securing work.