Career as Medical Laboratory Technologist

Last Updated By Ankita Jha on 07 Dec, 2022

How to Become a Medical Laboratory Technologist

About Medical Laboratory Technologist

A Medical Lab Technologist deals with performing complex tests for the detection, diagnosis and treatment of diseases. The job of a medical laboratory technician is of extreme value in the healthcare sector. Medical lab techs work in laboratory settings with equipment to record data and then finally conclude a result. 

The major part of her/ his job role is to work with high-end equipment to collect samples, operate machines and organise specimen to mechanically analyse samples. A professional in the field of medical lab technology also works on organising standard solutions that include measuring and mixing of the correct amount of different chemicals to be used in the lab.  

Roles and Responsibilities of Medical Laboratory Technologists 

The candidates must know the roles and responsibilities of a Medical laboratory Technologist. Given below are some of the duties that a medical laboratory technologist has to do.

  • Matching blood for transfusions
  • Preparing cultures of tissue samples
  • Analyzing lab reports
  • Looking for toxic components in blood or urine
  • Monitoring for data accuracy
  • Setting up, calibrating, and sterilizing equipment
  • Collecting and examining slides of bodily fluids
  • Collecting and examining blood samples
  • Delivering test results to doctors or researchers
  • Collaborating with doctors or laboratory directors on patient data

Types of Courses for Becoming Medical Laboratory Technologist

There are different levels of programs that can be pursued by the students to become Medical Laboratory Technologists. Some of the common courses are mentioned below: 

Certificate Programs

The certificate programs to pursue medical laboratory technologist courses helps the graduates to prepare them for getting jobs in the related sectors. They are taught about the concepts of hematology, microbiology, and phlebotomy. They also learn to analyze blood samples, tissue samples, and other body fluids. With the help of this course they are able to identify any abnormality in the pathological reports. They also maintain patient records for every medical test that is conducted.

Apart from this, certificate programs also train students to operate laboratory equipment, including microscopes and cell counters. The program also ensures that all tests are conducted by maintaining safety practices such as OSHA standards. They also take protective measures while operating laboratory equipment. A medical laboratory certificate program is usually offered for a duration of 1-2 years. The graduates after completing certificate courses can pursue jobs as medical laboratory technicians, clinical laboratory technician or blood bank technician, or they can also apply for a degree-granting program for higher education or better training.

Associate Degree Programs

The students directly qualify for entry-level medical laboratory technician positions with an associate degree program. It must be noted that the students with associate degree programs are more qualified and they stand out in the job market when compared to candidates with certificate programs in medical laboratory courses. The degree also helps in foundational training for a bachelor's degree.

The students of the associated degree program deal with important topics such as microbiology, hematology, and immunology. They are also trained for operating blood banks, safety standards and handling medical lab equipment. The students are exposed to different teaching methods such as classroom training, practical sessions and hands-on training in a laboratory setting for making them industry ready after the completion of the course. In addition to their training for coursework in medical laboratory science, they are also taught about general education classes to build critical thinking and problem-solving skills. An associate degree gets completed in 2 years duration and is offered as a full time course.  The graduates can either apply for a variety of job profiles or can choose to go for higher education and pursue a degree course in the same field. 

Bachelor's Degree Programs

A bachelor's degree in medical laboratory science or medical technology trains the students for various entry-level jobs as medical laboratory technologists. The candidates are exposed to various subjects such as immunology, biotechnology, and molecular biology. They are also trained to take coursework in research methods, biostatistics and clinical laboratory practices.

The students who pursue bachelor’s program in medical laboratory technology are trained with a blend of theoretical as well as hands on live laboratory sessions to gain practical experience with the equipment and know the procedures correctly. Most of the colleges and universities also incorporate clinical practicums or internships for bachelor’s degree. The student also gets trained in general education classes in Chemistry, English, Anatomy, and Math. It generally takes a full four years time to complete a bachelor's degree in medical laboratory science. The students who are transferred from other universities as lateral entry can earn their degree in less time. Graduates can also work as clinical laboratory technologists or medical laboratory technologists in hospitals, medical research facilities, clinical laboratories, and other clinical settings.

Professional Licensure and Certifications

It is important for medical laboratory professionals to have a license to practice the profession in some of the states in India. The process of getting a license often includes meeting minimum educational qualifications and experience apart from passing the examination. Some states set certification as a minimum licensure requirement and grant licenses to only certified medical laboratory professionals. One can check additional information on licensure requirements as provided by The American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science.

Medical and clinical laboratory technologists and technicians can pursue professional certification in addition to a professional license. Even though certification remains voluntary in most states but helps professionals advance their careers and demonstrate their expertise. Medical laboratory technicians and technologists can pursue general or specialized certification in related areas like medical biology or cytotechnology. Certification candidates usually need a medical laboratory certificate or degree from an accredited program. Candidates must then pass an examination. A medical laboratory technician certification course is offered by The National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences, American Medical Technologists, and the American Society for Clinical Pathology. 

Eligibility to become Medical Laboratory Technologist

To become a professional in the field of Medical Laboratory Technology, one must hold a relevant degree or diploma. You are also required to possess a set of skills that are essential for job roles. 

Subject Combination: Science stream with Physics, Chemistry, Biology (PCB) or Physics, Biotechnology, Biology or Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and Biology (PCMB).

Entrance Exams: Manipal University Entrance Test, Jamia Hamdard Entrance Test, Amity University Entrance Test & Interview, CPNET, etc.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • For Undergraduate courses, candidates must have completed class 12 with Science stream (Biology) from a recognised board. 

  • For Postgraduate courses, candidates are required to hold a relevant bachelor’s degree or a diploma. 

  • The eligibility for Diploma courses is the same as that of undergraduate courses.   

How to Become a Medical Laboratory Technologist?

The candidates must have an idea on how to become a Medical Laboratory Technologist. Given below are the steps in becoming a Medical Laboratory Technologist.

Step 1: Clear 10+2

The candidates must complete 12th boards in physics-chemistry-biology-computer science/physics-chemistry-biology/ physics-chemistry-biology-math with minimum 50% marks from a recognised board.

Step 2: Entrance Exam

The students must be aware that there are many top colleges that grant admission in the Medical Laboratory Technologist course through entrance exams. The candidates have to appear for the entrance exam for admission. The candidates need to score good marks in the entrance exam inorder to be eligible for the admission. The candidates can check the famous entrance exam for Medical Laboratory Technologist mNEET: National Eligibility-Cum- Entrance Test 

  • NEET: National Eligibility-Cum- Entrance Test 
  • AIIMS-EE MBBS: All India Institute of Medical Sciences Entrance Examination MBBS
  • MET: Manipal Entrance Test
  • JHET: Jamia Hamdard Entrance Test
  • KEAM: Kerala Engineering Architecture Medical Entrance Examination

Step 3: Pursue Bachelor's Degree

The candidates after completing their 10 +2 in science stream can pursue graduation in  Medical Laboratory Technologist. Some of the famous bachelors courses for becoming Medical Laboratory Technologist are as follows- 

  • Medical Lab Technician
  • Medical and Health Science
  • Medical Lab Technology
  • Hospital Administration
  • Public Health

Step 4: Pursue Post Graduation

The candidates after completing bachelor’s degree can further opt for a master’s degree in the interested specialization without dropping a year else they can prefer to do a job. If they want to do masters degree then they can check the some of the masters programme that they can opt - 

  • Medical Lab Technology
  • Medical Radiography
  • Medical and Health Science
  • Public Health

Skills Required for  Medical Laboratory Technologist

Listening skills: Listening skills is one of the most important skills as it helps one to understand the things properly and also make perfect sense of others' communication. 

Reading skills: Reading skill makes one perfect with enhanced vocabulary, makes one knowledgeable, aware about the general knowledge and understanding the ability to think critically. 

Critical Thinking: Critical thinking is important in ensuring that you also have the best answer to the questions, with both the maximum buy-in from across all concerned parties – an end result that will undoubtedly save time, money as well as pressure.

Speaking: Speaking is an important action for positive communication as it is about giving suggestions for work and also supporting a climate where employees feel motivated and relaxed. 

Scientific Knowledge: Scientific information enables us to create new technologies, solve problems, and make educated, personal and social judgments. 

Problem-solving ability: Problem-solving is very beneficial for the aspirants  and institutions as it helps us to exercise in making the environment positive.

Types of Job Roles Medical Laboratory Technologist

Medical Lab Technicians in India have a whole variety of employment areas that they can explore to work. Depending upon the specialisations, their job roles and profiles change. From X-ray labs to pharmaceutical companies, an MLT degree/ diploma holder can try her/ his hands on a number of roles. 

CT Scan Technicians:

A CT scan technician uses Computerised Tomography (CT) scanners and produces cross-sectional images of a patients’ internal organs to diagnose medical issues. 

Anaesthesia Technicians:

Anaesthesia technicians help anesthesiologists or other medical staff by assisting them in cleaning, maintaining and preparing anaesthesia equipment to be used in a surgical procedure.

MRI Technicians:

MRI technicians run MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scanners at diagnostic facilities and hospitals. The technicians work directly with patients and educate them on what to excerpt from the results. They also give drugs to patients to provide better contrast on scanned images. 

X-Ray Technicians/ X-Ray Technologists:

X-Ray Technicians or X-Ray Technologists work on imaging methods using cutting-edge technology to visualise the inside of a human body. Pictures created by them help physicians in diagnosing and treating injuries or illness with great accuracy.

Operation Theatre Technicians:

An OT technician maintains and prepares operation theatre and related equipment. They also assist anaesthetic and surgical teams during operations and provide support to recovering patients. 

Pathology Technicians:

A Pathology Technician performs lab tests on body cells, tissues and fluids to arrive at diagnoses by assisting pathologists. This job role includes working with tests, procedures, chemicals and lab machinery to analyse biological samples. 

Orthopaedic Technicians/ Plaster Technicians:

An Orthopaedic Technician applies casts to a patient’s limbs or other fractured body parts. They also apply splints and braces, as per the requirements. Their service may be required to remedy an orthopaedic condition, after an accident or a surgery.

Employment Opportunities for Medical Lab Technologists

As stated above, a medical lab technician can explore a number of employment areas. Some of the examples are listed below. 

  • Hospitals

  • Independent medical testing labs

  • Colleges 

  • Serology

  • Drug Efficacy Testing

  • Blood Sample Matching

  • Parasitology  

  • Coagulation

  • Urine Analysis

  • Phlebotomy

  • Cytotechnology (the study of human tissue)

  • Microbiology (the study of bacteria and other disease organisms)

  • Immunology (the study of the immune system)

  • Haematology (blood-related)

  • Clinical Chemistry (chemical analysis of body fluids)

  • Blood banking

Top Recruiters for a Medical Lab Technologist

Some of the leading organisations or hospitals recruiting medical lab technologists are:

  • Forensic Science Laboratory

  • AIIMS (All India Institute of Medical Sciences)

  • Batra Hospital and Medical Research Centre, Delhi

  • Apollo

  • Max

  • Fortis

  • Columbia Asia Referral Hospital

  • BLK Super Speciality Hospital

  • Lilavati Hospital (Mumbai)

  • Manipal Hospital

Employment Sector/Industry for Medical Laboratory Technologist

Although the work description of a Medical Lab Technician depends on the specialised field she/ he working in, there are a few common tasks that a professional in this field will find herself/ himself doing. 

  • Collecting samples

  • Preparing solutions

  • Examining cells

  • Preparing reagents

  • Analysing data and test results

  • Operating, cleaning and adjusting lab equipment

  • Reporting and discussing test results with doctors or other professionals

  • Crafting charts, graphs and reports

What is the Workplace Environment of a Medical Laboratory Technologist like?

The candidates after completing their course of Medical Laboratory Technologists can look for interesting job profiles as their career option and can work with several organizations like hospitals, diagnostic laboratories or physicians' offices. The other important sectors where Medical Laboratory Technologists can be employed include working with blood and organ banks, research facilities, clinics, medical equipment sales companies, and public health organizations. They can also be an important part of pharmaceutical and reference laboratories. All the laboratories where scientific explorations take place are kept clean, sanitized, and well lit. If any student chooses a career as a Medical Laboratory Technologist, they will have to wear protective clothing to save themselves for any accidents. They are required to wear lab coats, masks, goggles and gloves while handling equipment or specimens.

Does a Medical Laboratory Technologist require travelling?

A Medical Laboratory Technologist is supposed to work in their laboratories stationed at a particular place and this job does not require travelling as such. They might have to travel in case of any seminar or conferences that are organized for them to enhance their knowledge about the equipment and experimental procedures. Also, if there is an immediate requirement of blood in one of the branches of a hospital which is different from their current working location, they might have to travel to supply the blood and carry out important investigations related to blood screening and all. 

Employment Shifts

It is important for the Medical Laboratory Technologist to be present on site where the lab experiments have to be carried out. They are employed as full time employees and they can work in multiple shifts as fixed by their organization. Medical Laboratory Technologists are required all the time in the hospital for emergency cases. 

Employment Nature

The nature of employment of a Medical Laboratory Technologist is permanent as they have to work in sync with the instructions of the hospital and build trust over the years. A temporary arrangement will be problematic for the management itself. 

Work Place

The workplace for Medical Laboratory Technologist can vary as per the profile. They can work in hospitals, blood banks, medical laboratories, diagnostic centres, etc. They work for around 40 hours per week and are employed as full time employees.

Presence in Geographical Area

As Medical Laboratory Technologists are required in all the hospitals and laboratories, they will have to work wherever these facilities are available. In short, Medical Laboratory Technologists work in rural areas, semi urban areas, and urban areas.

Time Pressure

The work pressure or time pressure for a Medical Laboratory Technologist is moderate as they work with patience to get the accurate result. They usually work indoors in labs for conducting their research and prepare solutions for a particular project field. During a pandemic situation, they might have to work for some extra hours to know the cause of spread of any bacteria or viruses and they may have to assist a team of doctors and scientists. 

Overtime Details

Medical Laboratory Technologists usually don't have to work overtime and they work for fixed hours as assigned to them. They may be requested to work overtime during emergency scenarios or during sudden absence of their colleagues. They get compensation for extra work by the management.

Weekly Hours of Work

Individuals who opt for a career as Medical Laboratory Technologists work for about 40-45 hours per week. The working hours vary from place to place and organization to organization. The pressure is less for Medical Laboratory Technologists  who work odd shifts throughout the day and be on call in case of an emergency.

Planning to choose Medical Laboratory Technologist as your career?

Pay Scale/Salary of Medical Laboratory Technologist

The following table shows how much does a Medical Lab Technologist earn

Salary Range

INR 1.17 LPA to INR 5.5 LPA

Minimum Salary

INR 1.17 LPA

Average/ Median Salary


Highest Salary


Books & Study Material to Become Medical Laboratory Technologist

Here are some of the preparation books and study material for Medical Lab Technology that aspirants can refer to. 

  • Textbooks of Medical Lab Technology - Mrinalini Sant

  • MLT Exam Study Guide - Createspace Independent Pub

  • MLT Exam Secrets Study Guide - Mometrix Test Preparation 

  • Essential Pathology Book 

  • MCQs in Medical Laboratory Technology - Ramnik Sood

Pros of becoming a Medical Laboratory Technologist

Vacancy: As per a survey conducted in 2015, India has a shortage of professionals in the paramedical field including X-ray technicians, Radiologists, etc. This opens up a lot of employment opportunities for aspirants.

Increase in the Numbers: According to the official surveys, the medical lab technology jobs are projected to increase by at least 18 per cent on a national average. 

Respect: A worker in the healthcare industry works towards making patients’ lives better by dragging them out of their misery. This does not only make other people respect them but they feel respect for themselves as well. In a sense, it is a very rewarding career.

Cons of becoming a Medical Laboratory Technologist

Remuneration: In the initial stages of a medical lab technician, candidates each a low package that ranges from INR 8,000 to INR 16,000. 

Exposed to Risk: A professional in this field works closely with heavy machinery, radiation and infectious material that mitigate the risk of coming in contact with harmful substances or catching a disease. 

Undefined Working Hours: If a person is working in a hospital that is open 24/7, she/ he may be required to work overnights or on weekends or holidays.

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