Microbiology Technician Job Description
Microbiology technicians are crucial to medical laboratory staff, as they are responsible for ensuring the proper handling of all testing samples. This role is one option for an entry-level job seeker beginning a career in either biological sciences, healthcare, or a related field. Microbiology technicians often work with specimens such as infectious bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Someone in this role is supervised by a medical technologist or a laboratory manager.
Microbiology Technician Duties and Responsibilities
While the day-to-day duties of a microbiology technician is determined by their employer, there are many core tasks associated with the role. Based on our analysis of job listings, these may include:
This role is responsible for setting up laboratory tests for microbial examination. This includes retrieving biological specimen samples and preparing them for testing as appropriate. Microbiology technicians assess whether specimens meet laboratory standards, document any quality issues, and ensure materials are properly discarded.
Analyze and Report Results
Microbiology technicians are expected to review and report results of microbiological analyses in a timely manner. It is also required that they identify and communicate results that may require further investigation or discussion with a supervisor.
Technicians must know how to execute universal safety precautions, which assume that all blood and body fluids are infectious. A person in this role should be very knowledgeable of these laboratory guidelines, as it is vital to avoiding the risk of harm to the technician as well as the potential to negatively impact laboratory results.
Microbiology technicians play a large role in the upkeep of the laboratory. This can include managing lab inventory, preparing and cleaning lab instruments, ensuring all work areas are clean, and performing clerical duties as necessary.
Microbiology Technician Skills and Qualifications
A successful microbiology technician is well-organized and very detail oriented. Additionally, employers prefer candidates who possess the following abilities:
- Strong Communication Skills – it is crucial that microbiology technicians communicate any specimen related information or issues to peers and management clearly and effectively
- Writing Skills – clear and effective writing to report lab results is a necessary quality for a person interested in this role
- Detail Oriented – microbiology technicians should be efficient, motivated, and pay close attention to detail, as lab testing requires maximum accuracy
- Problem Solving – microbiology technicians are expected to identify issues with specimen types and missing information. They engage with the lab technician or client services department to resolve any problems that might arise
- Project Management – this role is expected to ensure sample turnaround times are met on time. This can include sample preparation for sample analysis, data review and reduction, and providing data interpretation reports
Microbiology Technician Education and Training
A high school diploma is required to be a microbiology technician and employers often prefer candidates with an associate’s degree. Many also seek candidates with at least one year of academic training or previous work experience in a lab. Additionally, some employers may ask for specific certifications or familiarization with different industry standards. On the job training is provided.
Technicians who want to continue their microbiology education might consider pursuing a Bachelor of Science in either microbiology or a related subject, such as cellular and molecular biology.
Microbiology Technician Salary and Outlook
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs for medical and clinical lab technicians are expected to increase by 18%, which is much faster than the average for all occupations, from 2014-2024. The BLS also reported that the median annual salary for medical lab technicians was $38,970 as of May 2015. Tennessee and Maryland were the two states with the greatest concentration of medical lab technicians employed in that same year.
There are many helpful resources available for those interested in careers as a microbiology technician. Please review the links below for valuable information and the latest industry news.
Microbiology technician RED-HOT Career Guide – land your next microbiology technician role with ease and use the 2561 REAL Interview Questions in this time-tested book to demystify the entire job-search process.
Introduction to Diagnostic Microbiology for the Laboratory Sciences – this book provides a foundation in microbiology that is essential for a career as a medical laboratory technologist/technician (MLT). A key text for students and a helpful reference for practitioners, it reviews the microorganisms most commonly encountered in clinical settings and clearly explains basic laboratory procedures.
Essentials of Medical Laboratory Practice – understand the most common laboratory techniques, tests, and procedures performed in a physician’s office. Information includes important laboratory terminology and the procedures you’ll need to perform to become an effective member of a physician’s lab team.
Lablogatory – a blog for medical laboratory professionals.
The American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science – ASCLS provides information about education, job opportunities, and community support for clinical technicians and other medical professionals.
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