Are you a laboratory technician? If not, perhaps you might want to add this career to your life goals. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Clinical Laboratory Technologists and Technicians (CLTs) can enjoy a faster-than-average employment growth with excellent job opportunities.
Although most lab tech jobs continue to be in hospitals, the need for technicians who can specialize in fields such as clinical biochemistry, hematology, coagulation, microbiology, bacteriology, virology, parasitology, mycology, immunology, immunohematology (blood bank), histopathology, cytopathology, genetics, cytogenetics and IVF labs may continue to grow as well.
The following list of twenty-five excellent Web tools for lab technicians includes a sampling of online tools that cannot possibly cover all specialties; therefore, this is a general list divided into categories that include policy information, educational resources, organizations and more that are free to use and that can help boost your lab technician career. Each link is listed in alphabetical order within the categories to show readers that we do not favor one resource over another.
- Amazing Atlas of Antibody Anatomy: Search through software, images and data for academic research, teaching and learning.
- Blood, The Vital Connection: This is an American Society of Hematology (ASH) site that offers basic education to patients, providers and students. Professionals can tune into Bloodline, a reference site that contains links to important hematology sites and resources.
- Center for Phlebotomy Education: Although many courses and videos are not free, this site offers a newsletter, school directories, links and a “Needle Know-How” article on specimen collection at no charge.
- CDC: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is a government site that provides resources for the public as well as for scientists who work in all fields connected with laboratory technician careers.
- DNA Initiative: This government initiative provides funding, training and assistance to ensure that forensic DNA reaches its full potential to solve crimes, protect the innocent and identify missing persons. The focus at this site is on training – including online courses – and tools, including FBI support, required for the job.
- Free Online DNA Training: NFSTC (National Forensic Science Technology Center) offers a variety of DNA training programs online, made possible by National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs and Department of Justice grants.
- Office of Biological & Environmental Research: This U.S. Department of Energy site offers research materials to anyone interested in genomic research, structural biology and other biological systems.
- Systematic Mycology and Microbiology Laboratory: This site is under the umbrella of the United States Department of Agriculture. Research featured on this site focuses on the systematics of fungi as biological control agents and plant pathogens.
- The Internet Pathology Laboratory for Medical Education: The Mercer School of Medicine and the University of Utah’s Eccles Health Sciences Library provide free online reference tools and images that pertain to pathology, including exams and tutorials.
Database Search and Analytic Tools
NOTE: Hundreds of database search and analytic tools exist to use on the Internet. The following list contains just a handful of those various tools. You can find more tools listed at biophilessurf:
- BiBiServ: The Bielefeld University’s Bioinformatics Server offers a variety of tools for bioinformatics searches, analytics and phylogeny.
- HaptenDB: This database includes haptens in pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, drugs, vitamins, steroids, hormones, toxins, dyes, explosives, etc
- NCBI Structure: the National Center for Biotechnology Information provides a vast array of resources for the scientific community to conduct searches, to analyze and to construct biomedical projects. You also can gain access to their advanced Entrez tools.
- V Base: V BASE is a comprehensive directory of all human germline variable region sequences compiled from over a thousand published sequences, including those in the current releases of the Genbank and EMBL data libraries.
- Forensic Hub: The Forensic Training Network provides this forum where forensic professionals and students can join discussions, post useful resources, job opportunities and events. Discussions can be made private or public.
- Mycology.Net Forum: This discussion forum is accessible only online, and includes general information, jobs, systematics and support categories.
- Scientist Solutions: You can find a wide variety of discussions at this site, from DNA to cell and tissue culture, and from analytical chemistry to protein detection.
- American Society for Microbiology: Learn more about policy issues ranging from biosecurity to water safety, public health and esport controls at this page geared toward microbiology lab techs and scientists. You also can explore the ASM site while you’re at that link through the tabs at the top of the page.
- CIDRAP: The Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy is a global leader in addressing public health preparedness and emerging infectious disease response on topics such as bioterrorism, biosecurity, food safety and more.
- CLIA: Regulated and implemented by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) regulate all laboratory testing, except research, performed on humans throughout the U.S. Learn more about these regulations through this link.
- DNA Resource: This site contains domestic and global DNA policy developments along with a monthly report and archives.
- ASCLS: The Society for American Clinical Laboratory Science provides a hub for laboratory scientists and is an information base for awards, scholarships, events, continuing education sources and more.
- ASCP: The American Society for Clinical Pathology welcomes laboratory professionals and students to their hundreds of workshops, symposia, teleconferences, e-courses, and self-study programs annually.
- COLA: This is a physician-directed organization whose purpose is to promote excellence in laboratory medicine and patient care through a program of voluntary education, consultation, and accreditation.
- NCA: The National Credentialing Agency for laboratory personnel is a voluntary, nonprofit, non-governmental organization that conducts certification of medical laboratory personnel. They also sponsor various activities to help promote professional development in the medical laboratory profession.
- NAACLS: The National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences in an international agency for approval and accreditation of educations programs in the clinical laboratory sciences. Use this site to learn about programs and scholarships or, as a professional, volunteer or join a committee.