Medical laboratory technicians conduct tests to help detect, diagnose, and treat diseases.
Medical laboratory technicians and technologists have very similar jobs. Generally, medical laboratory technicians do most of the routine laboratory testing and are often supervised by medical laboratory technologists.
Physicians order laboratory tests to help them figure out what is wrong with patients. Lab technicians run tests using samples of body fluids, cells, or tissues. They study blood samples to count the number of cells and determine the blood type.
Technicians may prepare specimens and use machines that automatically analyze samples. They may follow detailed instructions to do tests by hand. They also prepare standard solutions for use in the lab. This involves measuring and mixing the correct amount of various chemicals.
They examine the samples to see if they are abnormal or diseased. They look for organisms, such as bacteria, that would indicate an infection. They often prepare vaccines and serums and test them to make sure they are active and not sterile. For other tests, technicians grow cell cultures.
After tests are run, technicians record, evaluate, and send results to physicians or medical researchers. They also talk to pathologists if abnormal cells are found.
In addition to running tests, technicians set up, clean, and maintain laboratory equipment.