Medical laboratory technicians perform a number of tasks in the diagnosis of patients, such as drawing blood, taking tissue samples and analyzing them. Most hold an associate degree. Some choose to return to school for their bachelor's degree so that they can move into the role of medical technologist.
National Salary Statistics
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that medical and clinical lab technicians earned an average of $18.91 per hour or $39,340 a year as of May 2012. Half of all technicians reported incomes ranging from $29,750 per year to $46,880 per year, while the highest-paid 10 percent of techs earned $57,710 or more per year.
Pay by Location
On average, medical lab techs in the U.S. earned the least in the Southeast, where the cost of living is comparatively low. The highest salaries were concentrated in the Northeast and West, where the cost of living is higher. The highest average salary, $62,850 per year, was reported by techs working in Rhode Island. Those in the District of Columbia averaged $52,760 per year, while those in Alaska ranked third at $51,470. Connecticut ranked fourth at $49,580 and Oregon ranked fifth at $48,590. Utah was the lowest-paying state for this occupation in 2012, with an average salary of $31,450. The territory of Puerto Rico reported the very lowest average salary, $24,320.
The BLS reports that nearly half of medical lab technicians worked in general hospitals as of 2012, earning an average of $40,050 a year. Those working in physician's offices and outpatient centers earned comparable incomes, an average of $39,600 per year. Medical lab technicians working at independent labs averaged $37,670, while those employed by ambulatory health care services averaged $36,210. Medical laboratory technicians employed by dentist's offices reported the highest average salary for the occupation, at $57,380 per year.
The BLS projects that employment opportunities for medical laboratory technicians will grow at a rate of 15 percent from 2010 to 2020, which is slightly higher than the projected growth rate for all occupations. This will lead to approximately 23,800 new jobs by the end of the decade. Medical lab technicians who return to school for their bachelor's degree may have the opportunity to advance into medical lab technologist positions, who earned an average of $58,640 per year as of 2012.