Medical laboratories are an important part of the military health care system. The staffs of medical laboratories
perform clinical tests required to detect and identify diseases in patients. Medical laboratory technicians conduct
tests on the tissue, blood, and body fluids of medical patients.
What They Do
Medical laboratory technicians in the military perform some or all of the following duties:
- Use lab equipment to analyze specimens (samples) of tissue, blood, and body fluids
- Examine blood and bone marrow under microscopes
- Test specimens for bacteria or viruses
- Draw blood from patients
- Assist in collecting specimens at autopsies (medical examinations of
- Record and file results of laboratory tests
- Assemble, disassemble, and maintain laboratory equipment
Helpful school subjects include biology, chemistry, and algebra.
Helpful attributes include:
- Ability to follow detailed procedures precisely
- Interest in scientific and technical work
Job training consists of classroom and on-the-job instruction, including practice in testing specimens. Training length
varies depending on specialty. Course content typically includes:
- Medical laboratory procedures
- Study of human parasites and diseases
- Laboratory administration and record keeping
Medical laboratory technicians work in medical centers, clinics, and hospitals on land or aboard ships.
Civilian medical laboratory technicians usually work for privately owned laboratories, hospitals, clinics, or research
institutions. They perform duties similar to military medical laboratory technicians.