Medical Lab Tech Average Salary
As a medical lab tech, you’ll have a number of responsibilities with patients or research materials. Some of your duties and responsibilities may include analyzing bodily fluids, such as blood or urine samples, operating different types of lab equipment, keeping patient records, and sometimes training other technicians. However, unlike being a doctor or nurse, this field only requires a two-year associate’s degree. Some people can even complete the work in 12 to 18 months, meaning that in just a short time from now, you could be at work in one of the many medical laboratories located across the country. Will the cost of your education be worth the payoff?
According to The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for medical lab technicians was $35,380 in 2008 (about $17 per hour), with the top 10 percent making $53,520 or more per year. That’s not too shabby, considering that you don’t even need a bachelor’s degree to have a successful career as a medical lab technician. The top paying employers for this industry are:
- Junior Colleges
- Pharmaceutical Companies
- Professional/Commercial Equipment Wholesalers
- Research Facilities
- Individual/Family Services
However, more medical lab tech jobs in the United States are found with hospitals, diagnostic centers, and physician offices. Many medical laboratories where you can find jobs are small, with only a few employees, and you may be the only medical lab tech. Others have hundreds of employees who work in shifts around the clock.
Your annual salary as a medical lab tech depends, in part, on where you live. How much you can make can depend largely on whether or not you work in a rural are or in a bigger city. When calculating your income, you should consider the cost of living in that area as well. The states with the highest median annual salaries in this career field are as follows:
- Rhode Island: $54,130
- Connecticut: $48,720
- Washington DC: $44,160
- Maryland: $43,220
- New York: $43,160
Even locations within each state can vary. You’ll typically make more in urban settings than in rural settings, though keep in mind that your cost of living will be higher in these areas as well. You should research different areas you would be interested in working to see if your potential salary is within the range you’re looking for. The highest median salaries for medical lab techs in 2008 were found in the founding metropolitan areas:
- Champaign-Urbana, IL: $63,210
- New Haven, CT: $51,610
- Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT: $51,300
- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA: $50,980
- Salinas, CA: $50,220
Factors That Can Impact Your Salary
Remember, your salary will also rise the longer you stick with your job. Your starting salary as a medical lab tech may be lower than average for your area, but as you learn the specific lab where you work and improve your skills, you’ll advance in both responsibilities and pay. Over time, you can be in the top 10 percent salary range no matter where you live. Experience goes a long way when it comes to how much you can earn.
Education plays a role as well. All medical lab techs are required to pass a national certification test, but you can demand a higher salary if you go back to school for your bachelor’s degree, participate in on-the-job training, and otherwise work to improve your skills as a lab tech. The better you are at your job, the more money you’re worth to your employer. In some cases, employers may even offer a tuition reimbursement program, where they reimburse the cost of tuition for employer who go on to pursue a higher degree. This means that you could attend school while still working and have all or some of your tuition reimbursed in exchange for working there for a set number of years. It all starts will a solid education at an accredited school, so contact colleges of interest today to learn more about becoming a medical lab tech.
Online Medical Lab Tech Degrees
For those looking to become a medical laboratory technician, a minimum of a two-year associate's degree in health science or a closely related healthcare subject is usually required to gain an entry-level position in the field. For those looking for more advancement, a bachelor's degree is recommended. There are numerous accredited online schools that offer such degrees, listed below.
Kaplan University — One of the biggest online schools in the nation, Kaplan University provides many online degrees to help you begin a Medical Lab Technician career. While the degrees build a foundation in healthcare that carries throughout your career, more training may be required for your desired position. Kaplan's programs include associate degrees in medical assisting, medical transcription, human services, and health information technology.
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