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Clinical Laboratory Technologist Job Description and Duties

Learn about your daily tasks as a medical and clinical laboratory technologist.

woman in lab putting fluid in vial
Home » Specialties » Clinical Laboratory Scientist

The Basics

  • What you’ll do: As a clinical lab technologist, you’ll collect samples and perform tests ordered by doctors and surgeons to analyze body fluids, tissue, and other substances. You may also prepare specimens and perform detailed manual and automated tests as requested.
  • Where you’ll work: Medical and surgical hospitals, medical diagnostic laboratories, physicians’ offices, outpatient care centers
  • Degree you’ll need: 4-year bachelor’s degree
  • Median annual salary: $54,180*

Job Environment

Medical technologists act as supervisors for medical technicians, who perform many of the same duties in a physician’s office or lab. On the job, you’ll collect and analyze body fluids, tissue, and other substances to determine normal or abnormal findings. You’ll operate sophisticated equipment and instruments to identify the results.

Both technicians and technologists perform tests and procedures that physicians or other healthcare personnel order. However, technologists perform more complex tests and laboratory procedures than technicians do. In these roles, you’ll work side by side in doctor’s offices, clinics, diagnostic labs and research environments.

Medical laboratory technicians often wear eye shields, gloves and other gear to prevent the spread of infection and to protect themselves from solutions and reagents used in testing.

Career Advancement

If you enjoy working as a medical or clinical lab technician, and would like to advance and gain more responsibility and autonomy in the field, you can move into a technologist position. There, you can specialize in a variety of areas such as:

Clinical laboratory technologists, also called clinical laboratory scientists, must pass a national certification examination given by one of these professional agencies:

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2020 Occupational Employment Statistics; Clinical Laboratory Technologists and Technicians.

*The salary information listed is based on a national average, unless noted. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors. National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.