How to Become A Clinical Laboratory Technician

A Clinical Laboratory Technician has numerous responsibilities including examining the fluids and cells in the body, and matching blood types for transfusions. Also known as Clinical Laboratory Scientists, these professionals work with sophisticated lab equipment like cell counters and microscopes to evaluate test results. Find out about the education requirements to become a Clinical Laboratory Technician and learn more about the duties to see if this is the job for you.

Should I Become a Clinical Laboratory Technician?

Working in a laboratory setting, Clinical Laboratory Technicians use technology and complex biomedical instruments to examine and analyze tissues, body fluids and cells. With the samples they receive, these technicians identify infective microorganisms and blood clotting abnormalities. A Clinical Laboratory Technician’s responsibilities also include cross-matching donor blood and analyzing the chemical constituents in body fluids. To become a Clinical Laboratory Technician, an associate’s degree is required, followed by a state license.

Education Required

Associate’s Degree

Degree Field

Medicine, Clinical Laboratory Technology


Most states require licensure


No experience for entry level positions

Key Skills

Ability to adjust in a fast-paced environment, detail oriented, passionate, organizational skills, experience in technology, computer software and data analysis system

Annual Mean Salary (2018)

$53,880 per year for Clinical Laboratory Technologists and Technicians

Job Outlook (2018)

11% increase

 Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2018)

Clinical Lab Technicians are fully trained to work in a professional environment by completing a two-year associate’s degree program. Being a specialized program, it covers all the necessary technical education requirements along with practical hands-on experience. Passion for the job, consistency, organizational skills and ability to work in a fast-paced environment are essential elements to being a successful Clinical Lab Technician. As per the information available on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2018 the average annual salary of Clinical Laboratory Technologists and Technicians was $52,330. An 11% increase is projected in the field from 2018 till 2028.

Career Requirements

Clinical Lab Technicians work in a challenging environment. They can be employed in hospital labs, public health labs, biotechnology companies, pharmaceutical or chemical industries, and even in forensic and law enforcement laboratories. If you think you have the right attitude and personality to fill this role, then learn more about the steps to become a lab technician.

Steps to Become a Clinical Laboratory Technician

Step 1: Get an Associate Degree

Following a high school diploma, the next step in becoming a Clinical Lab Technician is getting an associate’s degree. In this two years’ program, students cover a variety of topics like blood types and banking, microbiology, urinalysis, blood coagulation, hematology and parasitology. Most associate degree programs include internships, giving the students practical experience.

Step 2: Get a License and Certification

Licensure is a must for every state, though the requirements can vary from state to state. After getting an associate degree, graduates are instructed to contact the medical board in their state to learn about specific licensing requirements.

Step 3: Join a Professional Workplace

After obtaining a license, Clinical Lab Technicians can join a workplace that best suits them. It can be hospitals, medical labs or specialized clinics. There is a lot of career growth opportunity for lab technicians in the form of specializations and certifications. Professional organizations, like American Society for Clinical Pathology, offer continuing education opportunities that can help in professional advancement.  

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