Lab Technician Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

Last updated: June 22, 2022

A Lab Technician, or Medical Lab Assistant, is responsible for supporting Scientists and medical professionals in research, testing and laboratory maintenance. Their duties include recording data, sterilizing equipment and ordering and organizing supplies.

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Lab Technician duties and responsibilities 

Lab Technicians are responsible for receiving, testing, analyzing, recording and reporting results of their tests. Their main duties and responsibilities include:   

  • Receiving, labeling and safely storing samples to be tested
  • Determining and performing tests needed for the analysis and report
  • Recording tests and analyses and then reporting the results
  • Discussing and answering any questions regarding the results
  • Organizing and storing samples in accordance with all safety and other requirements to ensure the safety of personnel and integrity of the sample
  • Cleaning and maintaining lab equipment, including recalibration of equipment
  • Maintaining equipment records and daily work logs
  • Staying current on technical and scientific advances in their field
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What does a Lab Technician do? 

Lab Technicians work in medical or scientific laboratories to facilitate testing and research. Their role is to support other laboratory employees by maintaining a sterile environment, organizing log books, labeling and storing samples and managing stock. Lab Technicians set up, calibrate and troubleshoot equipment to ensure accurate testing. They can perform diagnostic tests on different scientific and medical samples or assist other laboratory employees in measuring and reporting the qualities of various substances. They also perform quality-control tests and audit lab logbooks to ensure proper procedures. Lab Technicians maintain an understanding of biohazard safety and dispose of hazardous waste.

Lab Technician skills and qualifications

A job description for a Lab Technician should contain the following skills and qualifications:

  • Good eye-hand coordination, especially in the case of Lab Technicians in the medical field, who have to use needles and microscopes when collecting and preparing specimens for analysis
  • Attention to detail and good organizational skills
  • Good communication and teamwork skills
  • Understanding of electronic and computerized equipment in laboratories
  • Able to follow instructions and strictly follow procedures

Lab Technician salary expectations 

A lab technician makes an average of $20.57 per hour. Pay rate may depend on level of experience, education and the geographical location.

Lab Technician education and training requirements 

Many Lab Technician positions require a bachelor’s degree, while some will accept an associate degree or certificate. Some states require Lab Technicians to be licensed, which involves the required degree or certification plus the passing of the state license exam. In addition to educational requirements, Lab Technicians have to understand and know how to use the computerized and other automated equipment necessary for the testing and analysis of samples.

Lab Technician experience requirements 

Employers generally prioritize people who possess good critical thinking skills and good hand-eye coordination over experience. Lab Technicians have to be team players able to work as part of a team as well as with people outside their normal work area. Employers also look for people who are detail-oriented, focused and who follow procedures.

Job description samples for similar positions 

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Frequently asked questions about Lab Technicians

 

What is the difference between a Lab Technician and a Lab Assistant?

Lab Technicians perform a combination of organizational and testing duties, while Lab Assistants focus on clerical and administrative work like billing patients, communicating with insurance, updating records and cleaning the lab. Lab Assistantships are entry-level positions while Laboratory Technicians have more responsibility and experience. Lab Assistants may travel to patients, collect samples and then bring them back to the laboratory so that Lab Technicians can prepare specimens, run tests and interpret the results. Lab Technicians and Lab Assistants both help manage inventory, but Lab Technicians might order supplies based on demand while Lab Assistants unpack shipments and stock inventory.

 

What are the qualities of a good Lab Technician?

A good Lab Technician is meticulous and cautious, allowing them to carefully prepare testing specimens without contamination or errors. They enjoy working independently and participating in every step in the testing process, allowing them to efficiently complete different tasks. Successful Lab Technicians are perceptive enough to notice small nuanced details in samples that could indicate certain diseases or conditions. Good Lab Technicians are highly organized and systematic when it comes to their work, producing consistent results any time they need to run a test, creating an organized, reliable and uniform testing environment.

 

What are the daily duties of a Lab Technician?

Lab Technicians can run a variety of tests each day, including blood typing, drug testing, urinalysis and tissue sample analysis. They can use basic laboratory equipment like microscopes and sample slices or advanced automated instruments and specialized equipment that can run multiple test panels at once. Lab Technicians accept instruction from Laboratory Managers or Laboratory Technologists to address inconsistencies or determine priorities for the day. Before and after each test, Lab Technicians sterilize their personal safety equipment and set up their workspace to safely handle potentially hazardous materials.

 

What should you look for on a Lab Technician resume?

When hiring a Lab Technician, look for resumes that list prior experience as a Lab Assistant, Research Assistant or another related role that indicates familiarity with standard lab safety procedures. Lab Technician resumes should highlight the type of testing each candidate is familiar with and demonstrate the volume of testing the candidate has done in the past.

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