Lab technicians perform tests, procedures, and experiments. They are skilled workers who often work in scientific or medical laboratories.
Lab technician job description and duties
A lab technician has a wide range of duties, from highly technical diagnostic or mechanical tests to complex systems in the laboratories. They may operate alone or under the supervision of a professional.
Lab technicians can be classified into four groups depending on the focus of their work – clinical lab technician, dental lab technician, medical appliance lab technician, and ophthalmic lab technician.
Clinical lab technicians are supervised by clinical lab technologists as they prepare specimens, administer automated analysis tests, and conduct detailed manual tests. They might work with tissue samples or blood samples, depending on what kind of laboratory they are working in. Clinical lab technicians usually use microscopes, cell counters, and advanced computers, among others. They are mainly responsible for helping doctors and researchers detect, diagnose, treat, and prevent old and new diseases.
Dental lab technicians cannot start their work until they get a work order and the patient’s dental molds from the dentist. They make bridges, crowns, dentures, and other dental prosthetics. They use the mold to create new models using a plaster. Dental molds contain the details of the patient’s mouth, such as the gaps in their teeth or the shape of their teeth. These molds help the dental lab technicians to develop a prosthetic using wax models. Aside from making dental prosthetics, these technicians might have to work on the other areas needed to keep the dental office running smoothly. However, others may be asked to focus on a certain job duty.
Medical appliance lab technicians follow a healthcare professional’s instructions and prescription. They make the necessary brace, artificial limb, or other medical appliance to aid the patient with a disability. They can design appliances to improve the patient’s mobility. Medical appliance lab technicians also make hearing aids. They might focus on prosthetics or on corrective devices, depending on their preference.
Ophthalmic lab technicians make prescription eyeglasses and contact lenses using their manual effort and automated equipment. They grind, cut, polish, and edge the glasses or lenses based on the prescription directions. Some ophthalmic lab technicians even make lenses for telescopes and binoculars.
Where does a lab technician work
A lab technician may find work in a lot of places. It could be in hospitals, clinics, public health organizations, private laboratories, and research and development departments of pharmaceutical companies.
Why should you become a lab technician
Lab technicians may work behind the scenes, but their work has become increasingly critical in the medical field. They use the latest technology to perform lab tests and analysis. Those who want to create an impact in diagnosing and preventing medical problems, being a lab technician might help fulfill that desire.
The demand for lab technicians is also increasing. This is due to the growing baby boomer population that needs more medical facilities and care providers. This also allows lab technicians to have more freedom in choosing where they would like to work.