California Occupational Guides

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Summary Guide for

Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technicians in California

May also be called: Histologic Technicians; Laboratory Assistants; Laboratory Associates; Laboratory Technicians; Medical Laboratory Technicians (MLTs); Phlebotomists; Toxicology Laboratory Technicians

What Would I Do?

Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technicians collect, examine, and analyze bodily fluids, tissue samples, blood, and other substances. They use a variety of techniques to detect bacteria, viruses, fungus cells, cancer cells, and other agents of disease. In California, these workers are often referred to as Medical Laboratory Technicians (MLTs). They work under the supervision of a licensed physician, surgeon, doctoral scientist, pathologist, clinical laboratory bioanalyst, clinical laboratory scientist, or a clinical laboratory specialist.

Medical Laboratory Technicians generally work in well-lit, well-equipped, and temperature-controlled laboratories. They may also work in hospitals, clinics, doctors' offices, blood banks, or stand-alone laboratories. Technicians who work in hospitals or larger medical laboratories often work day, evening, or graveyard shifts and may work on weekends and holidays. Those who work in smaller facilities may work on rotating shifts, rather than on regular shifts.

Will This Job Fit Me?

Medical Laboratory Technicians work with practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They work more with tools and equipment rather than with people. An exception to this would be Phlebotomists, who work directly with patients. This job also attracts workers who enjoy working with ideas and engaging in extensive amounts of thinking and problem solving.

What Wages and Benefits Can I Expect?

Medical Laboratory Technicians may receive additional pay when working on-call, overtime, irregular shifts, or weekends. The highest wage earners for this large group are Histotechnicians, with the lowest wages generally paid to Phlebotomists.

The median wage in 2017 for Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technicians in California is $45,994 annually, or $22.12 hourly. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.

Change to Hourly Wages
Annual Wages for 2017Low
(25th percentile)
Median
(50th percentile)
High
(75th percentile)
California$34,946$45,994$59,067
Source: EDD/LMID Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2017 Wages do not reflect self-employment.
View Wages for All Areas

Medical Laboratory Technicians generally receive benefits such as medical, dental, life, and vision insurance as well as vacation, sick leave, and retirement plans. Some may receive uniforms.

What is the Job Outlook?

The job prospects for Medical Laboratory Technicians are very good. New, increasingly powerful diagnostic tests should encourage additional testing and spur employment growth. In addition, the volume of laboratory tests continues to increase with population growth. Most jobs will continue to be in hospitals, but employment is projected to grow faster in other settings, such as medical and diagnostic laboratories, offices of physicians, and all other ambulatory health care services.

How Do I Qualify?

Medical Laboratory Technicians must possess an associate degree in chemical, physical, biological, or clinical laboratory science, including a minimum of 36 semester units of physical or biological science from an accredited college or university. They must also meet additional training or experience requirements in order to become licensed and work in the State of California.

Finding a Job

Direct application to employers remains one of the most effective job search methods. Hospitals advertise openings in newspaper classified ads, Internet job listings, and some also recruit through private employment agencies. Job seekers should apply directly to hospital personnel departments throughout California. Other job search methods include using a college job placement office, attending a job fair, and joining a professional society, especially one that provides services and attention to students. Online job opening systems include JobCentral at www.jobcentral.com and CalJOBSSM at www.caljobs.ca.gov.

To find your nearest One-Stop Career Center, go to Service Locator. View the helpful job search tips for more resources. (requires Adobe Reader).


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