Clinical Laboratory Technologists and Technicians Are Among Top Growth Jobs for Next Decade in US

U.S. News & World Report identifies medical technologists as among best career opportunities in healthcare.

Laboratory technologists and laboratory technicians are a top career for 2010, as identified by U.S. News & World Report’s (USNWR) new annual list of the top 50 careers list. Clinical laboratories will be pleased that the lab technologist career is third in the healthcare category, after X-ray technician and veterinarian.

Editors at U.S. News & World Report laud the role of laboratory techs, writing that “Clinical lab technicians and technologists are very much the unsung heroes of the healthcare industry.” USNWR’s 2010 career list ranks occupations in five categories according to anticipated job growth and median average income.

The analysis was based on the U.S. Labor Department’s latest job growth projections for 2008 to 2018. It highlights occupations that are expected to add jobs above the anticipated 10% average growth rate over the next decade and which will also provide a better-than-average median income.

Medical technologist (MT), clinical laboratory scientist (CLS), and medical laboratory technician (MLT) jobs are expected to rise 16%. The fastest job growth will come from clinical laboratories, pathology laboratories, and physician office laboratories (POLs). Last year, the pay range for a laboratory technologist was $28,420 to $44,310 and that puts overall median pay at $35,380, but U.S. News & World Report notes that some lab tech pay packages topped $54,000.

Here is USNWR’s list of America’s Best Careers 2010: Healthcare, with lab technician ranked as third:
1. X-ray technician
2. Veterinarian
3. Lab Technician
4. Physical Therapist
5. Occupational Therapist
6. Registered Nurse
7. Physician Assistant
8. Optometrist
9. Physical Therapist Assistant
10. Dental Hygienist
11. School Psychologist

The analysis done by U.S. News & World Report includes occupations in each category with a range of educational requirements and other data when available, including such factors as job satisfaction, work environment, opportunity for mobility, and turnover. Lab tech jobs in clinical laboratories were described as low-stress, but, similar to hospital patient-care areas, medical laboratories often require 24-hour coverage.

Preparation is relatively minimal in terms of cost and time compared to other healthcare professions. A medical laboratory technician requires typically just a technician certificate or two-year associates degree for an entry-level position in a clinical laboratory.
Another positive factor for job growth in MT, CLS, and MLT positions, according to USNWR, is the fact that health care stands out as the only industry that expanded payrolls during the recession due to increasing demand for healthcare services.

High demand for healthcare services over the last decade may be just a tip of the iceberg of what’s to come, however. Editors at U.S. News & World Report write that “The growth trend in healthcare is almost unstoppable: Millions and millions of aging baby boomers will continue to place a heightened demand on healthcare providers, as well as provide plenty of opportunity for medical innovation.”

Clinical laboratory managers and pathologists may want to make the U.S. News & World Report list of “50 Best Careers of 2010” part of their medical technologist recruiting package. It validates the fact that demand for MTs, CLS’, and MLTs will remain quite strong for many years into the future. – P. Kirk

Other article:

Laboratory Technician
As one of the 50 best careers of 2010, this should have strong growth over the next decade
By U.S. News Staff

Clinical lab technicians and technologists are very much the unsung heroes of the healthcare industry. You'll be behind the scenes, generating the critical data that physicians will use to make their diagnoses. You'll perform tests or prepare tissue specimens for examination. Phlebotomists are technicians who specialize in drawing blood. As a technician, you'll typically do less complex tests and procedures than a technologist, who would supervise your work. You'll need much less schooling to be a technician, though.

The outlook:
Job growth is expected to be faster than average, with the number of clinical lab workers rising about 16 percent. But you can count on even more opportunities thanks to retirements and turnover. Expect the most rapid growth in private diagnostic labs, as well as in physicians' offices.

Upward mobility:
The natural next step is to become a technologist. You'll most likely need to have additional education, as well as to become licensed—a requirement in some states. Technologists could move up into laboratory management roles.

Activity level:
Moderate. You're on your feet quite a bit, if not always moving.

Stress level:
Pretty low. You'll be working in a clean, well-lighted lab most of the time. Things could, however, get a little dicey if you're an entry-level technician at a hospital: You can expect to work nights, weekends, or holidays, and that can be stressful.

Education and preparation:
The lower-cost education is a highlight of this occupation. For entry-level work, you'll often need to have an associate's degree or to complete a certificate program. It is possible to learn some of your skills on the job.

You might be paid hourly, but median annual take-home pay was $35,380 last year. Half of technicians are paid between $28,420 and $44,310, but pay can top $54,000.

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