While many mistakenly believe that clinical laboratory technologists and clinical laboratory technicians are the same thing, there’s quite a noticeable difference between the two jobs, even though their basics are the same. A clinical laboratory technologist assists medical personnel in a clinic or hospital, performing various tests and examinations on samples collected from patients. A clinical laboratory technologist will usually perform much more complex tasks than a technician, such as examining samples under a microscope, evaluating the chemical reactions between samples, etc.
Becoming a clinical laboratory technologist requires higher qualifications than becoming a technician, too – candidates need a Bachelor’s degree in Medical Technology, or a degree in a subject related to medicine. There are also specific certifications available for clinical laboratory technologists, and while they’re just a benefit to a candidate’s application in some areas, some other jurisdictions require them strictly. A lot of skills are acquired on the job as well, and the prospects for a clinical laboratory technologist’s career development are usually very good.
Clinical laboratory technologists receive moderately high salaries, though they’re still lower than those of physicians for the most part. The annual salary varies between $42,000 and $57,000, with the median for 2009 being $47,000. The job typically offers good benefits, which is an attractive factor for many people, and there are good prospects for getting promoted quickly. On the other hand, in some cases the responsibilities attached to the job far outweigh the pay rate, which has been one of the reasons for a decline in the number of clinical laboratory technologists as of lately.