Job Family: Medical and Clinical Technologists and Technicians Medical Laboratory Technicians
Services Offering this Occupation
Army  | Navy  | Air Force  | National Guard

Supplemental Information
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Photo 1: Lab technicians prepare instruments for surgery. Photo 2: Lab technician runs blood sample.

Natalie Condos
Occupation: Medical Laboratory Technician

My military career started the day that I got snowed in at a military test center and spent three days discussing career possibilities with the mil…

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Short Description
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 the dead)
  • Record and file results of laboratory tests
  • Assemble, disassemble, and maintain laboratory equipment

Helpful Attributes
Helpful school subjects include biology, chemistry, and algebra. Helpful attributes include:
  • Ability to follow detailed procedures precisely
  • Interest in scientific and technical work

Training Provided
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

Work Environment
Medical laboratory technicians work in medical centers, clinics, and hospitals on land or aboard ships.

Civilian Counterparts
Civilian medical laboratory technicians usually work for privately owned laboratories, hospitals, clinics, or research institutions. They perform duties similar to military medical laboratory technicians.

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