A laboratory technician is someone who has been trained to use laboratory equipment to test and analyze blood, body tissue, and fluid samples. Lab technicians in some states are required to obtain certification or licensing in order to work in the field. Some employers may prefer applicants who have earned lab technician certification even if certification or licensing is not required. If you want to become certified in this field, you should check the regulations in your jurisdiction for certification requirements, as they often differ from one jurisdiction to the next. To earn your credential, you’ll usually need to complete a lab technician certificate or associate’s degree program and pass a certification exam.
If you want to become a lab technician, you’ll most likely need a high school diploma, but if you didn’t finish high school, you may be able to get a general educational development (GED) diploma instead. Following the completion of one of these credentials, you must meet the educational requirements established the organization through which you intend to obtain your credential. You might need to get an associate’s degree in a related field, such as medical or lab technology, which could take two years at a community college.
Some certification organizations will accept candidates for lab technician certification who do not have a degree in the field but have completed at least 60 credit hours of education, with a significant number of credits in a medical or lab technology-related major. In this case, you may also require extensive laboratory experience.
Candidates who have graduated from accredited professional schools that offer certificates may be accepted lab technician certification organizations. You could, for example, complete a lab technician program that lasts a little over a year and culminates in a certificate. However, the length of these programs may vary. To be eligible for certification, you’ll typically need to gain laboratory experience through such a program. You may need to gain experience elsewhere before applying for certification if your training program does not include a significant amount of lab experience.
To begin the certification process, you’ll usually need to apply for certification and pay a fee once you’ve met the eligibility requirements. Official transcripts and other supporting documents may be required as proof of your education. Finally, to obtain certification in the field, you must usually pass a multiple-choice exam.