Laboratory technicians, or lab techs, perform tests on and analyze body fluids, tissues, chemical compounds, and other substances. They are responsible for examining samples and results and reporting any abnormalities they may observe. This requires them to operate laboratory and testing equipment including microscopes, pipettes, autoclaves, and various computerized instruments. They may also be responsible for collecting the samples they will be analyzing. Lab techs are also trained to work with potentially hazardous materials including caustic or infectious substances and are required to adhere to proper laboratory procedure when handling all samples. They may work in hospitals, medical, chemical, or biological laboratories, colleges or universities, or doctor’s offices. Their work environment is primarily a clean, well-lit, well-ventilated laboratory or office and they generally maintain full-time schedules. Lab tech jobs require some kind of post-secondary certification or associate’s degree, and many require at least a bachelor’s degree to be considered for a position.
There are two tests that are often used for laboratory technician jobs. The Criteria Basic Skills Test (CBST) assesses a candidate’s basic math and verbal skills and gets at the overall trainability and attention to detail that is important for lab tech positions. Additionally, since lab techs are required to use computerized instruments as well as enter data and use computers in their day to day responsibilities, the Computer Literacy and Internet Knowledge Test (CLIK) is also recommended. It assesses basic computer skills and familiarity with basic computer processes and functions.
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Median wage in U.S.:
Expected growth rate 2016-2026:
Number employed (2016): 335,700