Clinical Technician Job Description
Clinical technicians operate medical and laboratory equipment, collect samples from patients, and assist during surgical procedures. They work in doctor’s offices, clinics, hospitals, pharmacies, and other businesses in the medical field. Primarily, clinical technicians work in lab environments and patient care areas and are supervised by nurses, doctors, and administrative medical staff. They work daytime, evening, and night hours on weekdays and weekends, and must also be available to work on-call shifts at a moment’s notice.
Clinical Technician Duties and Responsibilities
A clinical technician’s job duties vary depending on the facility where they work and their medical specialty. Based on job listings, there are several core responsibilities that clinical technicians perform, in addition to specialized tasks:
Operate Medical Equipment
Clinical technicians operate equipment during surgeries and other medical procedures. They set up and maintain medical equipment following safety regulations and medical guidelines.
Collect Patent Fluids
Clinical technicians draw blood and collect other fluid samples from patients. These professionals also analyze these samples using lab equipment and recording the findings.
Clean and Repair Instruments
Clinical technicians clean and sterilize medical tools before and after procedures, repairing or replacing tools when they are damaged.
Prepare Operating Rooms
Clinical technicians assist in preparing operating rooms and surgical suites, readying these areas for new patients.
Maintain Patient Records
Clinical technicians maintain accurate patient records by recording data and properly labeling samples.
Obtain Patient Vital Statistics
Clinical technicians record patient height, weight, temperature, and blood pressure.
Clinical technicians greet patients, answer phones, and assist with patient intake procedures.
Clinical Technician Skills and Qualifications
Clinical technicians have mechanical aptitude, working with complicated medical equipment and tools, but they also have people skills that allow them to successfully interact with patients. Medical facilities are more likely to hire clinical technicians who have the following essential job skills:
- Communication – clinical technicians interact frequently with patients and other medical staff and record patient information
- Computer skills – clinical technicians work with computers and digital data
- Data entry – to accurately and efficiently record patient data
- Stress management – to deal with the stress that comes with working in high-pressure medical and laboratory facilities where a single mistake can be life-threatening to patients
Tools of the Trade
In addition to basic office equipment such as multi-line phones and computers, clinical technicians work with many tools on a regular basis:
- Vital statistics tools (thermometers, blood pressure cuffs, scales, rulers)
- Collection tools (syringes, specimen cups)
- Medical equipment (dialysis machines, heart monitors, scanning machinery, IVs)
- Laboratory tools (microscopes, slides, analyzers)
Clinical Technician Education and Training
Clinical technicians are required to have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in a medical or laboratory field of study.
Employers provide extensive training to clinical technicians on various medical equipment, tools, and devices. Clinical technicians also receive guided training on what to do during medical procedures and surgeries. This training period varies by facility but usually lasts several weeks while the clinical technician becomes familiar with using the equipment, machines, and tools associated with the job.
Clinical Technician Salary and Outlook
In 2016, the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that medical and clinical laboratory technologists and technicians earned a median yearly salary of $50,930 and a median hourly wage of $24.48. There were more than 300,000 jobs available for medical and clinical laboratory technologists and technicians in 2016. Jobs in this field are expected to increase by 13 percent from 2016 to 2026, which is faster than average career growth.
Clinical technicians receive a full benefits package that includes medical, vision, and dental insurance. These professionals also typically receive 401k and life insurance benefits, as well as paid sick days and vacation leave. Some large medical facilities also provide clinical technicians with free cafeteria meals and/or clothing reimbursement benefits.
To learn more about becoming a clinical technician, check out the following resources:
The American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science – ASCLS provides information about education, job opportunities, and community support for clinical technicians and other medical professionals.
National Emergency Medical Services Education Standards – Emergency Medical Technician Instructional Guidelines – Airway Management, Shock and Resuscitation, Trauma, EMS Operations – Learn the basics of patient assessment, resuscitation, trauma management, and other emergency medical technician techniques that clinical technicians often use.
American Medical Technologists – Find certification programs and other educational resources for clinical technicians at AMT.
Analytical Chemistry: A Chemist and Laboratory Technician’s Toolkit – Learn standards for lab safety and working with common lab equipment, including basic laboratory techniques and standards, with this guidebook.
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