Working in the Lab

If you like the idea of examining things at the molecular and cellular level, consider a career as a medical and clinical laboratory technologist or technician.

Lab technologists and technicians both collect samples and perform tests to analyze body fluids, tissue, and other substances. However, technologists, who must have a bachelor’s degree, perform more complex tests and laboratory procedures.

Almost half of technologists and technicians work in hospitals, and 17 percent work in medical and diagnostic laboratories.

  • Medical and clinical laboratory technologists: 6.9 percent increase from 2016 to 2026, from 1,793 to 1,917 positions. Average salary $56,667. You need a bachelor’s degree for this position.
  • Medical and clinical laboratory technicians: 10.4 percent increase from 2016 to 2026, from 2,212 to 2,442 positions. Average salary $40,546. You need an associate degree for this position.

Biological technicians help biological and medical scientists with lab tests and experiments. They usually have a bachelor’s degree. Most work in research and development or in colleges and universities.

  • Biological technicians: 10.9 percent increase from 2016 to 2026, from 661 to 733 positions. Average salary $33,174.

Chemical technicians help chemists and chemical engineers research, develop, produce, and test chemical products and processes. They must have an associate degree and undergo on the job training that may last up to a year. They typically work in testing laboratories (19 percent) and pharmaceutical manufacturing (10 percent).

  • Chemical technicians: 0.8 percent increase from 2016 to 2026, from 644 to 649 positions. Average salary $48,171.

Figures from the Kentucky Occupational Outlook to 2026.

 

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