Medical Laboratory Technician Kaihangarau Taiwhanga Rongoā

Medical laboratory technicians take medical samples and run tests under the supervision of scientists and pathologists.

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Medical laboratory technicians need to be registered with the Medical Sciences Council of New Zealand.

Medical laboratory technicians may do some or all of the following:

  • take blood and other samples such as fingernail scrapings
  • label samples
  • reassure and care for patients they are taking samples from
  • prepare slides of blood and other body fluids, and perform tests on these samples
  • match blood for transfusions
  • test for bacteria that can cause disease in patients
  • perform antibiotic sensitivity and allergy testing.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for medical laboratory technicians includes:

  • laboratory work
  • work in the health sector
  • work with computers and information systems.

Personal Qualities

Medical laboratory technicians need to be:

  • accurate, with an eye for detail
  • able to work alone or in a team
  • good at record-keeping
  • sensitive when dealing with patients.

Medical laboratory technicians should not be squeamish, as their work involves body samples.

Skills

Medical laboratory technicians need to have:

  • practical skills for performing experiments and operating scientific equipment
  • thorough understanding of laboratory safety
  • basic understanding of biological science
  • the ability to follow scientific procedures.

Conditions

Medical laboratory technicians:

  • usually work regular business hours, but may also do shift work or work weekends
  • work in community, hospital, commercial or veterinary diagnostic laboratories
  • may travel locally to take samples at doctors' surgeries, hospitals, rest homes, patients' homes and workplaces.

Subject Recommendations

There are no specific secondary education requirements to become a medical laboratory technician. However, biology, chemistry, health education, physics and maths are useful.

Related Courses

Medical Laboratory Technicians can earn around $44K-$50K per year.

Pay for medical laboratory technicians varies depending on experience.

  • Trainee medical laboratory technicians usually earn from minimum wage to $50,000 a year.
  • Qualified medical laboratory technicians usually earn $47,000 to $60,000.
  • Supervising medical laboratory technicians can earn up to $64,000.

Sources: APEX and Northland Pathology, 'Collective Employment Agreement', 2021; and District Health Boards/PSA, 'Allied, Public Health and Technical Multi-Employer Collective Agreement', 2020.

Experienced medical laboratory technicians may progress into managerial positions.

With further training, they may become medical laboratory scientists.

Medical laboratory technicians may specialise in a number of roles, including:

Donor Technician
Donor technicians collect blood and plasma from blood donors.
Phlebotomy Technician
Phlebotomy technicians collect blood and samples from patients for laboratory testing or for blood banks.
Specimen Services Technician
Specimen services technicians take blood, urine and tissue from patients to test in a laboratory. They also perform tests and procedures on patients.

Years Of Training

2 years of training required.

Two ways to become a medical laboratory technician

To become a medical laboratory technician you need to:

  • work as a trainee medical laboratory technician in an approved laboratory for two years
  • gain the Qualified Medical Laboratory Technician (QMLT) Certificate.

Alternatively, you can:

  • gain a Bachelor of Science with a relevant major in biological science
  • work as a trainee medical laboratory technician in an approved laboratory for one year.

You also need to hold a full driver's licence and be registered with the Medical Sciences Council of New Zealand.

Medical Laboratory Technician