wiseGEEK: How do I get Medical Laboratory Technician Certification?
A medical laboratory technician is a person who assists other medical professionals, usually doctors or technologists, with testing body tissue and fluid samples. In this capacity, a medical laboratory technician helps doctors and other medical professionals diagnose conditions. Medical laboratory technician certification is a credential you may pursue to demonstrate your knowledge in this area. In some places, certification may be required as a condition of employment, though some employers may simply prefer it. To earn medical laboratory technician certification, you will typically have to seek education from an accredited program and then pass a certification exam.
Medical laboratory technician certification criteria may vary, depending on where you live and the guidelines set by the certifying authority you choose. Before you make a plan for certification, you may do well to contact the certification organizations in your area to determine what they require from candidates. If there is more than one certifying organization in your area, you may choose the organization that has the least-stringent requirements. On the other hand, you may prefer to pursue the certification most technicians in your area receive.
In most cases, you’ll need to graduate from high school or earn a high school diploma equivalent
to secure certification in this field. Once you’ve met this requirement, you’ll likely have to enroll in an accredited program to earn medical laboratory technician certification. Often, these certification programs give applicants a choice of ways to get the education they need for certification. For example, you may have the choice of earning an associate’s degree in medical technology ; earning a significant number of credits in related subjects; or graduating from a medical laboratory diploma or certificate program. You may even qualify for medical laboratory technician certification because of related military experience.
If you opt to enroll in a two-year program and earn an associate’s degree in preparation for certification, you will likely need about two years to complete your education. You may find a diploma or certificate program that is significantly shorter, however. Some may even last for less than one year.
Once you have met the educational requirements for medical laboratory technician certification, you will usually have to fill out an application for certification and pay a fee. You may also have to provide documents that support your eligibility. You will usually have to take a test and obtain a minimum score to secure certification as well.