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Clinical Laboratory Technologist

Career Overview

Clinical Laboratory Technologists (CLTs) also known as Medical Techs or Clinical Laboratory Specialists analyze and examine fluids, cells and blood cultures for microorganisms such as bacteria, parasites and fungi. CLTs type and cross match blood for transfusions; prepare specimens for examination and check for abnormal cells in blood and body fluids. They use all manner of very sophisticated lab equipment that is automated and computerized and capable of performing a number of tests simultaneously. CLTs perform complex biological, chemical, microscopic and immunologic bacteriological tests.


While it is possible to obtain some CLT positions with a combination of education and on-the-job training, most require a bachelor's degree with a major in medical technology or another of the life sciences. Hospitals and universities generally offer programs. In some states it is necessary to be licensed or registered and this requires a bachelor's degree and passing an exam offered by the state board of health. As well, associations such as the American Society for Clinical Pathology offer certification programs that some employers prefer. 


CLTs work in laboratories either in hospitals or that are privately run. Often they work in a  clean' or sterile environment, with gowns, gloves and goggles to ensure either their safety or the sterility of the test site. Employment growth is expected to be faster than average at 14 percent in the 2006-16 corridor.

Job Outlook

This job classification is expected to grow slightly faster than the average overall growth rate for all job categories.  A 14% increase in clinical laboratory technologists is projected for the decade 2006 - 2016.


Lowest 10% $17.05 $35,460

Median 50% $24.87 $51,720

Highest 10% $34.63 $72,040

Source: U.S. Department of Labor

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